Cal tailback Jahvid Best has been ruled out of Saturday's game at Stanford, but he is eyeing a return for the regular-season final at Washington on Dec. 5. The Bears have a bye next week.
Best, who suffered a severe concussion and back injury against Oregon State on Nov."7, said it took about a week for his concussion symptoms to dissipate but that he still is bothered by a sore back.
"It all depends day-by-day," Best said Wednesday in his first extended comments since being hurt. "It's kind of a tricky subject. They keep telling me it depends on how I feel. So if I keep feeling better, we can give it a shot. If I don't, then maybe a bowl game."
Even if Best does play against Washington and in a bowl game, the question remains if those will be his last in a Cal uniform. Best, a junior, is considered a possible first-round pick in April's NFL draft and might elect to leave school early.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Best as the top junior running back in the 2010 draft and the 19th-best prospect overall.
Best said he still hasn't thought about whether he will leave Cal. The injury won't have any effect on his decision, he said.
"At the end of the season, I'll still sit down and make a decision," Best said. "This won't (affect) it in any way. As of right now, I'm still not thinking about that yet. We've got three more weeks and then the bowl game extends the season even longer. I'm still focusing on doing rehab and getting back out there."
A swarm of Bay Area media converged on Memorial Stadium on Wednesday to find out how Best was handling the aftermath of his frightening fall against the Beavers.
"I was actually pretty calm," Best said after practice Wednesday. "It didn't faze me too much. I was pretty calm when I saw it (on tape). It doesn't look that bad to me."
Best was hurt when he hurdled one defender and got pushed higher into the air by another while leaping into the end zone for a touchdown with the Bears trailing 14-0. It resulted in a midair flip that forced him to land hard on his head and back. He was knocked unconscious, and the game was delayed 15 minutes while he was treated by Cal's medical staff.
Best was wheeled off the field on a stretcher and taken to Highland General Hospital in Oakland. He was released the day after the game and went to his parents' house in Vallejo, where he was bedridden for a few days, suffering from dizziness, headaches and a stiff back. Best said he was just "moping around" during that time.
"I was just lying around. All I was doing was eating and sleeping," Best said. "It was kind of tough for me mentally going from running around practicing to doing nothing."
Best resumed classes this week and is watching practice from the sidelines. His first rehab session was Sunday, and he had another Wednesday, saying he "progressed a lot."
Whether that progress continues enough to get him back on the field this season remains to be seen.
"I remember everything up until it happened," Best said. "When it happened, I just remember waking up in the hospital. I was kind of confused. At that point, I obviously had a lot of drugs in me so I wasn't there mentally. Everything was kind of fuzzy, and I was a little confused, but my family and friends were there to bring everything back into the picture."
Best said he's seen the replay of the play only twice. He acknowledged that he is lucky he wasn't injured more seriously, even paralyzed.
"Yeah, I thought of that," Best said. "That's why I say I'm blessed. Even the doctors said it should have been worse than it is when they saw it. I'm just thankful. I thank God every day I came out so well."