Cal Football: Are the Bears Getting Healthier in Time for Arizona State?

Jeff Faraudo

Cal coach Justin Wilcox suggested after practice Wednesday that the Bears may be getting healthier.

— He said running back Christopher Brown Jr. is OK and will be ready to play Friday against Arizona State. Brown played just portions of the past two games due to an undisclosed injury.

— On outside linebackers Cam Goode, Tevin Paul and reserve Ben Hawk Schrider, who all missed the Ole Miss game, Wilcox was far from definitive but said, “We’re hopeful. They’ve been looking good.”

— No word on offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso, but both Wilcox and defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said nose guard Aaron Maldonado is close to being ready after missing all of fall camp and the first four games due to what has been described as “personal reasons.”

Maldonado and Siu Fuimaono were expected to duel for the starting job during training camp. But neither was available in August and Fuimaono remains absent.

“I think he’s close,” DeRuyter said of Maldonado. “He’s been out for the summer (so) I don’t know how many plays in a row he could go. But he surprised me. He was explosive at practice. He’s always been a real good pass-rush guy, so we may use him in some of our third-down packages.”

Said Wilcox: “It’s possible this Friday, but it’s not guaranteed.”

Maldonado could be a big a help at a position which has been shared by senior Luc Bequette, the team’s best defensive end, and freshman Brett Johnson.