BERKELEY, Calif. -- California quarterback Aaron Rodgers
will miss spring practice as he recovers from arthroscopic knee
surgery, but the junior is expected to be at full strength by fall
Rodgers said Monday he battled pain in his left knee all last
season, when the Golden Bears went 8-6 and beat Virginia Tech 52-49
in the Insight Bowl in the school's first postseason appearance
"My biggest thing is I didn't want it to be an excuse for a
loss or a bad game," Rodgers said of why he didn't discuss the
knee problem during the season.
He had surgery Jan. 7 to repair a torn ligament in his left
"I'm taking it kind of slow," he said. "I feel like I'm
definitely improving strength wise. I will take mental reps and
continue to learn the offense. I still haven't mastered the
offense. I'm close."
Rodgers, a transfer from Butte College in Oroville, Calif.,
didn't start until Week 5 last season. He then emerged as one of
the Pac-10's bright young stars.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Rodgers completed 61.6 percent of his
passes (215-of-349) for 2,903 yards and 19 touchdowns in 13 games.
He threw only five interceptions. In the bowl game, he went
27-of-35 for 394 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for two
scores on the way to earning the game's offensive MVP award.
Coach Jeff Tedford will closely watch redshirt freshman
quarterback Cary Dove this spring. Dove is likely to be the third
QB behind Rodgers and backup Reggie Robertson.
Rodgers will be able to do limited work, such as individual
"He's ahead of schedule in his rehab," Tedford said. "He
starting to jog and feels good about where he is. It was the right
time to get it fixed."
The quarterbacks should be happy with their targets, too.
Star wideout Geoff McArthur returns after a breakout junior
season in which he caught 85 passes for a school record 1,504 yards
and 10 touchdowns.
Also, Cal expects to have Jonathan Makonnen back. The Pac-10 has
approved a medical redshirt for Makonnen, who had surgery on his
left foot last Sept. 30 and missed the remainder of the season.
Rodgers is just one of about a dozen players who will be
sidelined while working back from offseason operations. The Bears'
offensive line is beat up, which will force Tedford to be creative
in how he runs drills.
"The key for us right now is to get 100 percent," Tedford
said. "I know what they can do once they get back."