November 17, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) leaves the game in the fourth quarter against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

USC Football: Barkley Possibly Separated Shoulder vs. UCLA


Late in the fourth quarter of USC’s loss to UCLA on Saturday, Matt Barkley got sacked and went down hard on his right side. According to one USC beat writer, it could be a separated shoulder:

He stayed down for awhile after the hit before walking off the field cradling his arm, ultimately to be replaced in the final seconds by back-up QB Max Wittek. After the game, Barkley attended the press conference in warm ups, with his right arm tucked against his body and not through his right sleeve. He only offered that “we don’t talk about injuries”, and neither he nor the coaches said anything else on the matter. This photo was snapped of Barkley leaving the game, clearly in a sling.

Barkley is right-handed, so if he did indeed separate his shoulder, this is a huge blow for USC going into its final game of the season against an even bigger rival, Notre Dame. Despite playing poorly against UCLA, this Trojan team still has enough talent to beat the Irish and up-end their undefeated season, but much of that hinged upon Barkley being healthy to play against them.

We likely won’t know whether Barkley did in fact separate his shoulder until next week, but if he did, the spotlight could be fading away from him and falling onto Wittek in a way that no one saw coming in August.

Surely Barkley has struggled this season, but over four years he has given a lot to USC and to the Trojan fan base. He gave them a reason to care through the sanctioned years and he gave them something to rally around for 2012. Like many things in life, his goals will ultimately not come to fruition, but if Barkley has to end his tenure at USC on an injured note, that is absolutely tragic for one of the most inspiring Trojans to suit up for SC in recent years.

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