PROVO — BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, who suffered a rib injury in last weekend's 20-14 loss at San Jose State, did not practice Monday and is "day-to-day" going into next Saturday's game at New Mexico State.
"He's hurt. Hopefully he'll be back by the (New Mexico State) game," said coach Bronco Mendenhall. "He got pounded in that (San Jose State) game. He took a lot of shots. He didn't practice today. Hopefully he'll be back by Saturday."
Backup quarterback James Lark took all the reps in Nelson's place during Monday's practice.
Said Mendenhall, "For (Nelson) to be out today is pretty significant because the guy doesn't miss many (practices)."
The coach added that Lark will "play and he'll start this week if Riley can't play for any reason."
Mendenhall described Nelson's injury as "really painful."
BYU head trainer Jeff Hurst said Monday that Nelson is "day-to-day right now."
"He had an injury to the spot where the rib attaches to the cartilage in the front of his right side," Hurst explained. "No fracture that we can look at right now. It's progressing daily. He felt better today than he did yesterday, and better Sunday than he did after the game. It's kind of a day-to-day thing right now. He has a huge heart and a ton of desire and willingness. It wouldn't surprise me at all if were ready to go (Saturday)."
Did Hurst consider not allowing Nelson to return to the game at San Jose State?
"There's always that thought," he said. "That's my job, to make sure that if I feel he can't go back in I tell the coaches that. I knew he was going to be sore, but I told them that I thought he could play. He completed I don't know how many balls after that. He's a tough kid."
Meanwhile, wide receiver Cody Hoffman, who caught a career-high 13 passes for 155 yards and recovered an onside kick late in the game at SJSU, sustained a shoulder injury.
Like Nelson, Hoffman continued playing in pain.
"The team respects them and they gave us a great chance to win the game," Mendenhall said of Hoffman and Nelson. "Cody came in after the long drive and recovered the onside kick. Riley scrambled all over the place and threw it to David Foote (for a touchdown) and we got close. We just didn't protect well enough to win it."
Both Mendenhall and Hurst said they expect Hoffman to play this weekend.
"He came and rehabbed a couple of different times," Hurst said. "He looked really good (in practice). A real tough kid. For Saturday, he should be good to go."
Bountiful linebacker commits to Cougars
BOUNTIFUL — BYU received a football commitment from Bountiful High linebacker Rylee Gautavai late last week after he took several unofficial visits to the Cougars' campus.
Gautavai is a 6-foot-2 athlete who hopes to follow in the footsteps of another former Bountiful High standout, Cameron Jensen.
BYU coaches became aware of Gautavai when he attended the school's junior day. They didn't immediately offer him a scholarship after his performance, but kept him in mind and stayed in contact.
Gautavai made sure to send film to coaches of his senior season and they responded with a scholarship offer. He immediately accepted.
"BYU is really the only school I've ever wanted to play for," Gautavai said. "I went to all their games growing up. My whole family are big BYU fans. And I love the school, the coaches. I love everything, so I immediately accepted their offer."
Meanwhile, BYU appears to be on the cusp of losing its very first commit of the 2013 class, Brayden Kearsley.
The four-star prospect from Beaverton, Ore., recently opened up his recruitment and lists Oregon State as his new favorite, according to Chris Fetters of Scout.com. Kearsley still lists BYU as a possibility, but will take official trips to Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington and UCLA.
— Brandon Gurney
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