USC redshirt junior Tre Madden made it back to Howard Jones Field for one practice last week. He hasn't been suited up since.
Last year, Madden had a monster game against Arizona State and had his most memorable touchdown, diving into the end zone for a 66-yard touchdown reception, against Arizona. This year, he wasn't dressed for the Sun Devil faceoff and isn't likely to play Saturday when the Trojans travel to Tucson to take on the Wildcats.
The former linebacker seemed frustrated after practice last Tuesday as he continues to deal with a turf toe injury. The injury has sidelined him for the entire season and could potentially cost him this year altogether.
"When he came back to start to get himself ready to go again, it just kind of flared back up," USC head coach Steve Sarkisian said. "The swelling came back. Obviously, he's really frustrated."
"I've had some concern because of all the positions you play, as a running back to have turf toe, that is not easy to do. To make those violent cuts in tight quarters when you are a bigger man...it can be challenging."
After Wednesday's practice, Sarkisian said Tre Madden is a potential redshirt candidate for this year.
"I want to do what's in the best interests of Tre. He obviously wants to come back, but we have to be smart in the decision we make."
But Madden isn't alone. Linebacker Lamar Dawson, who missed the second half of the 2013 season and hasn't played this year after undergoing knee surgery, is almost assured to redshirt.
"If you held a gun to my head today," Steve Sarkisian said Wednesday, "I would imagine Lamar will redshirt and we'll have him available for spring practice and ready for the fall."
Sarkisian said the plan had been to get through Game 6 (this weekend at Arizona) before having to come to a decision for the remainder of the season.
Lamar Dawson is a senior, but has not used his redshirt, making him a viable candidate to sit out the remainder of this year and then take over for Hayes Pullard in the middle of the USC defense. Tre Madden still has one year of eligibility remaining, but has used his redshirt previously. However, Madden and USC could potentially petition for a sixth year of eligibility based on medical hardship, if he does not play this season.