USC will prepare to play without a few key players for Friday night’s game against Colorado. They could also be without them for longer than that. Following Monday’s practice, head coach Clay Helton provided updates on all the injured Trojans. Most were not so promising to hear.
The defense had the worst of the injury report. Safety Talanoa Hufanga and linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain will miss a few weeks with dislocated shoulders. Both suffered the injury in the win over the Wildcats Saturday. Hufanga missed the final few games of last season with a broken collarbone and was forced to miss the week 5 game against Washington. Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times reported Hufanga’s injury.
McClain’s injury came on a sack during the second quarter of last week’s game. The Trojans starting defensive ends could also miss Friday’s game. Drake Jackson was not medically cleared for practice after suffering a high ankle sprain during Saturday’s game while senior Christain Rector was also sidelined during practice nursing an ankle sprain that kept him out last week.
There was positive news for the Trojans as both cornerbacks Olaijah Griffin and Greg Johnson participated in Monday’s practice. Both of the starting cornerbacks were sidelined last week after suffering injuries against Notre Dame.
On the offensive side of the ball the USC running back depth took a huge hit. Markese Stepp suffered a torn ligament in his ankle and will undergo surgery. While it likely won’t knock him out for the season, the redshirt freshman will miss a three to five weeks which means a likely return could happen when the team travels to Berkley to face Cal.
Stepp started to see a growth in carries after positive productions in the last three games. Against Notre Dame, Stepp rushed for a career high 82 yards and was the driving force for the USC offense. He was on his way to another strong performance on the ground against Arizona before he went down to injury.
Stephen Carr on the other suffered a grade two hamstring sprain and was not cleared for practice Monday, per Keely Eure of USCFootball.com. The status of Carr for Friday’s game seems very unlikely which means the Trojans will have one healthy scholarship running back in Kenan Christon. The true freshman out of San Diego had an outstanding debut rushing for 103 yards off 8 carries thanks to two long touchdown runs of 55 and 30 yards.
According to Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com Running back turned cornerback Dominic Davis returned to running back for depth reasons at practice. Walk-on Quincy Jountti could also see carries in Friday’s game against Colorado. The Trojans are already without Vavae Malepeai for the remainder of the season after having knee surgery following their loss to Notre Dame.
True Freshman wide receiver Munir McClain injury was the worst out of everyone on the report. The former three star wide receiver will miss the remainder of the season with a Torn ACL. McClain suffered the injury after completing a pass in the final minutes of Saturday’s blowout win over Arizona. He is ineligible for a redshirt after appearing in his fifth game of the season last week. This is the second knee injury McClain suffered as he was forced to miss a large portion of his high school career with a similar injury.
Tight End Josh Falo returned to practice which gave USC some reinforcements on that side of the ball.