USC kicker Andre Heidari reportedly had knee surgery this week, and will be out for three weeks. He tore his meniscus in the season opener against Hawaii, and as such did not travel to Syracuse the following week. Rumors swirled about this being the case late last week, but because USC is no longer disclosing injury information, it took a few days to confirm. At the time, sources close to Heidari say that he “felt a pop” in the game last week.
Walk-on kicker Alex Wood, who made his debut as the place kicker against Syracuse, will replace Heidari while he recovers.
The Trojans left for Syracuse last Thursday but Heidari was seen walking around campus with crutches shortly after that, implying that he did not travel with the team to New Jersey. On Saturday, that suspicion was confirmed when the kickers came out for warm ups at MetLife field, and Heidari was not among them.
Against Syracuse the Trojans did not kick any field goals, and walk on Alex Wood took and made all of USC’s PAT. Pedro Moura of ESPNLA shed some light on Wood’s presence in the game, which apparently was made before the Trojans even left LA:
USC kicker Alex Wood said he found out on Tuesday he’d be kicking today
— Pedro Moura (@PedroMoura) September 9, 2012
The absence of Heidari could significantly impact the Trojans’ special teams game plan for the next few weeks, as Heidari is USC’s only seasoned kicker. He made 15 of 17 field goal attempts last season and all 50 PAT attempts. In the past–and even most recently against Hawaii–we have seen Coach Kiffin opt to go for two points after a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal when Heidari isn’t available. As this strategy will likely not be plausible over the duration of the season, Kiffin is going to have to put his faith in Wood an the other back-up kickers, and allow them to test their legs.