BERKELEY — Cal freshman running back Jaivian Thomas was unconscious on the field after being injured at Oregon on Saturday but remains at home and “is doing well, considering,” according to Bears coach Justin Wilcox.
The Oakland product suffered a neck injury in the third quarter of Cal’s 63-19 loss to the No. 6 Ducks at Autzen Stadium and spent the night at a Eugene hospital before returning to the Bay Area.
During a portion of the nearly 15 minutes he remained on the turf, the former McClymonds High star was unconscious, said Cal offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.
“When you’re in the heat of the moment you don’t see the severity of it,” Spavital said. “After the game, watching it on the plane, it was a pretty scary situation for Jaivian to be in.
“It kind of spooked a lot of people in our entire program at that point because he was laying there unconscious for a while.”
Wilcox said there is no timetable on if and when Thomas might return to action. The Bears play their final home game of the season on Saturday against Washington State, then face Stanford and UCLA in road matchups.
“Obviously, that was a scary moment up there. We appreciate all the help and care that he got when he was in Eugene,” Wilcox said. “He is back home and doing well. All the tests that he’s undergone are positive and we’re communicating with him daily.”
Spavital said he has exchanged texts messages with Thomas.
“Seems like he’s in good spirits and I think he’s kind of anxious to get back around his teammates,” Spavital said.
But Spavital echoed Wilcox that it’s too early to know whether Thomas might play in a game again this season.
“I think that’s more up to him,” Spavital said. “We haven’t really gotten that far. We’re just more concerned with him being healthy right now. There is no rush. It’s kind of when he’s ready to roll.”
INJURY UPDATE: Thomas had climbed to the No. 3 rung at running back and No. 2 Isaiah Ifanse, who has rushed for 365 yards and seven touchdowns, is listed as week-to-week after missing the Oregon game. He reportedly has hand and foot injuries.
If neither Ifanse or Thomas is available for WSU, Tennessee transfer Justin Williams-Thomas is likely to move into the second spot behind Pac-12 rushing leader Jaydn Ott.
Williams-Thomas missed the first seven games while rehabbing a leg injury, but has seen limited action the past two weeks. Ott has rushed for 847 yards and nine touchdowns, despite missing one game and parts of three others with ailments of his own.
Inside linebacker Kaleb Elarms-Orr is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the Oregon game. The redshirt sophomore from Hayward is second in the Pac-12 with 72 tackles. Cal already is without All-Pac-12 inside linebacker Jackson Sirmon, sidelined the past three games with a season-ending biceps injury.
ROAD TO A BOWL: Cal (3-6, 1-5 Pac-12) will play a non-Top-25 opponent Saturday for the first time since September after losing four in a row to ranked teams.
WSU (4-5, 1-5) won its first four games and climbed to No. 13 in the AP Top-25 before its current five-game skid that leaves the Cougars in a four-way tie for last place the Pac-12 standings with the Bears, Colorado and Arizona State.
The Bears must win their final three to reach six victories and become bowl eligible.
“Yeah, we do talk about that, and that is a goal,” Wilcox said, “and the only way to accomplish that is go 1-0 this week.”
The Cougars need two more wins to likely land a bowl bid.
The game matches a Cal defense that has allowed 50 points or more four times this season against a WSU offense averaging just 16.2 points during its five-game drought.