BERKELEY, Calif. -- California running back Tre Watson will miss the rest of the season because of an apparent right leg injury.
The senior got hurt after catching a screen pass from Ross Bowers late in the first quarter of California's 33-20 win over Weber State on Saturday. Watson limped off the field but returned in the second quarter and carried once before going down again, this time for good.
"You feel for a guy like that that's put in so much time and effort into the program," Bears coach Justin Wilcox said Monday. "We'll have his back. Now it's going to be the next man up at that positon. He'll bounce back from this, but it's never easy going through that."
Watson wore a thick black brace on his right leg and used crutches Monday. He spoke briefly with Wilcox at the end of practice but did not stick around to talk to reporters.
Wilcox declined to discuss specific details of Watson's injury or whether it would require surgery.
Patrick Laird replaced Watson and rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries against Weber State and likely will continue to get the bulk of playing time.
Watson was expected to be a centerpiece of California's offense after he rushed for 709 yards and four touchdowns in 2016.
A preseason candidate for the Doak Walker and Paul Hornung awards, Watson entered the season as Cal's active career leader in rushing and all-purpose yards. He ran for 52 yards and had another 32 yards receiving against North Carolina in the season opener.
Watson got off to a decent start against Weber State, with 31 yards on six carries before he got hurt.
"It's tough," Wilcox said. "You put so much into it, and you feel for a guy that goes through that. It's an unfortunate reality of this sport that those things happen. He's a guy that will be able to come back from it, though. He's just got that about him. He'll be moving forward as soon as they start the process, and then we'll be there for him."