The Trojans beat the Utah Utes 38-28 on Thursday night, but also may have lost two significant players on offense, as injuries forced both Randall Telfer and Curtis McNeal out of the game prematurely.
Randall Telfer had just one catch, but it was worthy of making highlight reels as he snatched the ball out of midair for a touchdown a la Dominque Byrd in 2004. Telfer left in the third quarter however, with an apparent ankle injury. The Trojans used Xavier Grimble extensively following the injury, although Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick got playing time in the fourth quarter. In the postgame media frenzy, Telfer’s injury was not discussed, though a certain running back’s was.
Curtis McNeal, who came into the game with 225 rushing yards on 33 carries so far in 2012, never got a touch on Thursday night, as he left the game early due to an upper body injury that forced the team trainers to take his helmet away from him. After the game, it was reported by ESPN’s Pedro Moura, that players themselves were acknowledging that McNeal had suffered a concussion.
The timetable of concussions are difficult to predict, as it as pertains to both the severity of the concussion and the ensuing effect on the person who suffered it. They’ve both ended careers on the first concussion, as well as keep some players out for just a week of practice.
With McNeal, it’ll be interesting to see how the Trojans treat his injury and if they will play it overly cautious or not. D.J. Morgan took over for McNeal against Utah, and the redshirt sophomore looked impressive as he returned from an early season knee injury that cost him three games. The backfield is thin without McNeal, as only Morgan and Buck Allen would be behind Silas Redd, but at the same time, if Morgan can continue to impress, he’ll allow Kiffin to not rush McNeal, which surely the best scenario for the long term health of the senior running back.