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USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote status is a “game time decision” vs No. 7 Oregon

Trojans sophomore linebacker Palaie Gaoteote is ruled a game time decision for Saturday’s game vs No. 7 Oregon. Two more key USC defensive players are on track to return Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 20 Utah at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

USC could get one of their linebackers back for Saturday’s game.

Sophomore linebacker Palaie Gaoteote injury status has been upgraded to game time decision vs No. 7 Oregon. Gaoteote participated in Tuesday and Wednesday’s practice and appears to be on track for a return to the field when the Trojans host the Ducks.

USC head coach Clay Helton seemed hopeful, sharing that the sophomore starting linebacker looked good in practice, but will wait until Friday before venturing any further on if he’ll play in Saturday’s game.

Gaoteote missed the last two games following an ankle sprain in the Trojans 30-27 loss to Notre Dame. His backup Kana’i Mauga has played in his place against Arizona and Colorado. Helton stated two weeks ago that Mauga would see a good amount of rotation time even when Gaoteote returned to the field. That will continue to be the case on Saturday.

Gaoteote isn’t the only defensive player that could play this Saturday as defensive end Christian Rector and cornerback Chris Steele are also on track to make a return vs Oregon. Both are expected to play after sitting out last Friday’s win over Colorado. Steele suffered a knee injury and sat out Friday’s game while Rector was nursing an ankle sprain and missed the last two games.

Talanoa Hufanga, Drake Jackson, Abdul Malik-McClain, and Stephen Carr are officially “Day to day”, but are unlikely to play on Saturday. Trojans will rely on running back Kenan Christon and safety Chase Williams to fill that void in a tough matchup with a Top 10 team in the Oregon Ducks.