USC starting quarterback Cody Kessler was conspicuously missing from the beginning of USC's Tuesday morning practice at Howard Jones Field. Though he did arrive halfway through the practice session, Kessler did not practice.
After practice, Kessler said he had a procedure for a toe injury he sustained during USC's 52-13 blowout of Fresno State on Saturday. But surprisingly, Kessler, one of the most media friendly players on the team, cut off reporters when further questions were asked about the injury and whether it had been a lingering issue.
"You can talk to Coach Sark about that. Ask Coach Sark. That's all I'm saying. It was a procedure. I'll talk about the game or Stanford coming up, but that's all."
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian later opened his post-practice scrum talking about Kessler's absence and why he didn't practice:
"Obviously, Cody was late coming out today. He had a deal with his toe that had been bothering him throughout the ball game. We felt like we wanted to take care of it sooner rather than later, so this morning was the first chance we had to have the procedure done to get it, in our opinion, cleaned up. Expect him to be full go tomorrow and be ready for the game."
"It obviously didn't affect his play on Saturday. He played great."
Later in the media scrum, when asked, "When you say procedure, does that mean surgery?" Sarkisian responded, "It means procedure."
About an hour later, Scott Wolf reported that Cody Kessler had actually been hospitalized over the weekend for staph infection. Kessler had reportedly been in a lot of pain from the infection in his toe and even had to take an injection before Saturday's game.
Wolf has been the only one to report this thus far, but during the weekly Trojans Live radio broadcast, Steve Sarkisian did confirm that Kessler had an infection. Maybe that was an infected ingrown toenail? Maybe it was some other infection? Maybe Wolf is correct and Kessler has been dealing with staph infection, which can be highly contagious in the locker room setting?
Hopefully, today's "procedure" took care of everything and none of the USC Trojans have to deal with any further infections this season, particularly the potentially deadly staph infection.
Kessler and Sarkisian were both confident that the quarterback would be back practicing on Wednesday and be ready for Saturday's Top 15 matchup with Stanford. If, for some reason, Cody Kessler is not able to go this weekend, redshirt freshman Max Browne appears ready to step in and lead the offense after getting full reps with the first-team offenseon Tuesday.
The OC Register's Michael Lev, one of the best beat reporters, tweeted the following on Wednesday after practice:
I've been told that, contrary to reports, #USC QB Cody Kessler did not have a staph infection in his toe.— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) September 3, 2014