Cal vs. USC Week: Cheek injured; Rodgers, Cochran, Fortt status; Practice updates

Vincenzo D'Amato is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award - Michael J. Burns [GoldenBearSports.com]

The California Golden Bears play their last home game of the season against the USC Trojans this Saturday. It will also be Senior Day for the 13 seniors on the team. Trey Cheek was injured in practice on Wednesday, and was hospitalized overnight. Richard Rodgers had surgery on his thumb, but is expected to play Saturday.

The major news item at the beginning of the week was the status of freshman RB Fabiano Hale, who was hospitalized after an altercation with an unnamed teammate. Cal issued a brief statement preceding Tuesday's weekly press conference, and Coach Sonny Dykes did not address questions regarding the incident.

Cal athletics said it is cooperating with a UC Berkeley police investigation into a post-practice altercation that sent freshman walkon Fabiano Hale to the hospital.

Coach Sonny Dykes took no questions on the subject at his weekly news conference.

"We are still in the process of gathering information, but will not rush to judgment," a statement from Cal athletics said. "We will have no further comment until the investigation is complete."

According to a report from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Hale sustained a concussion and needed stitches on his ear:

Cal football player Fabiano Hale was at home Monday and recovering from a concussion sustained in a post-practice altercation with a teammate Friday that sent the freshman walk-on to the hospital.

Hale, who doesn't remember being taken to the hospital, also received stitches on his ear.

Hale spoke with Cal coaches Tuesday afternoon and said he plans to rejoin the team Monday.

We wish Fabiano a full recovery.

* * *

Several Bears are on the injury report this week, including Trey Cheek, Richard Rodgers, and Khairi Fortt.

Freshman DB Trey Cheek reportedly suffered a serious injury during practice on Wednesday, and was hospitalized overnight as a precaution. Cal media relations released the following statement:

Cal football player Trey Cheek is resting at Highland Hospital following a collision during a defensive backs drill at the end of the Golden Bears’ practice Wednesday. The freshman cornerback, who was transported by ambulance, is expected to remain overnight for observation.

We wish Trey a full recovery.

Richard Rodgers had surgery on his left thumb, but he should be available on Saturday. Khairi Fortt has not practiced this week due to a biceps injury and is questionable for Saturday's game:

Rodgers has been sidelined so far this week, but coach Sonny Dykes is confident he will be able to practice Thursday with a heavy wrap on his thumb.

Dykes said linebacker Khairi Fortt, nursing a biceps injury, is questionable to face USC. Fortt has not practiced this week.

Matt Cochran, who has been working his way back from an early-season ankle injury, continued to progress this week. He has been taking 2nd-team reps at RT, and might play Saturday:

Offensive lineman Matt Cochran (ankle) continues to make progress, but it is uncertain if he will be inserted back into the starting lineup this season because his conditioning is behind. He has taken reps with the second team offense at right tackle. "Hopefully he’ll have an opportunity to play Saturday," Dykes said.

Daniel Lasco and Darren Ervin began the week in red non-contact jerseys, but are expected to play without limitation on Saturday.

* * *

Lastly, with Cal honoring 13 players on Senior Day this Saturday, senior kicker Vincenzo D'Amato was appropriately named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award:

Saturday’s game will mark the final appearance at Memorial Stadium for 13 Bears – Mitchel Bartolo, Jackson Bouza, Mark Brazinski, Dan Camporeale, Deandre Coleman, Vincenzo D’Amato, Jake Davis, Lucas King, Brandon Madueno, Bill Tyndall, Chad Smith, Harrison Wilfley and Matt Williams.

Congratulations to Vince and his fellow seniors.

Additional Links:

  • Scouting USC 2013 - Rest of the Pac Breakdown
  • Cal vs. USC: Will we end The Streak?
  • Viewing thread: Episode nine of The Drive!
  • Former Cal coach Ray Willsey dead at 85
  • Golden Nuggets: Cal releases statement on fight incident; update on Hale's condition
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