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Clay Helton says LB Porter Gustin’s surgery was ‘phenomenal’

After suffering a torn meniscus injury during practice last week, senior linebacker Porter Gustin underwent successful surgery for the ailment.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The USC football team’s linebacker corps has gotten banged up in the first two weeks of fall camp but coach Clay Helton implied that help is on the way.

After wrapping up Friday’s scrimmage before USC’s scrimmage on Saturday, fifth-year coach Clay Helton implied that senior linebacker Porter Gustin’s surgery to replace the torn meniscus injury he suffered last week went “phenomenal,” according to the OC Register’s Joey Kauffman.

Like Helton, USC fans should feel optimistic about Gustin’s progression. Especially since Kaufman noted that Gustin was walking around practice without crutches, just one day after the operation.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

However, there’s no question that Helton & Co. are going to manage Gustin’s injury very conservatively. After playing in 24-combined games his first two years, the 6-foot-5 255-pound senior appeared in only four last season.

For that reason, Helton hasn’t set a realistic deadline for Gustin’s return to the gridiron and instead wants to make sure that he’s completely healthy when he returns.

“He’s a guy that you always make sure he’s not doing too much,” Helton said, per’s Alicia de Artola. “I told him to worry about his health and worry about being a coach.”

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Like Gustin, freshman linebacker Palaie Gaoteote also suffered a torn meniscus injury and is now another linebacker sidelined for presumably the rest of fall camp for the Trojans, per de Artola, who also reports that senior linebacker Cameron Smith and backup Levi Jones have also been sidelined with injuries this week.

Nevertheless, news of Gustin’s surgery going well is a bright spot for the Trojans’ defense moving forward. The hope is he’s healthy to return for USC’s first road game in Palo Alto against Stanford.