Turf toe may keep running back Tre Madden out of the opener against Fresno State while linebacker Lamar Dawson will likely miss the first three games as he continues to rehab from last seasons knee injury, head coach Steve Sarkisian revealed Friday.
USC RB Tre Madden (turf toe) will likely be a game time decision for the season opener, per @CoachSark.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) August 22, 2014
Madden suffered the injury during Monday’s scrimmage and has been kept out of practice since. He has been seen wearing a boot this week.
Initially the report out of USC indicated that Madden would have played through the injury in a gametime decision though he was pulled early from the scrimmage as a precaution. Unfortunately, the situation appears more serious than initially diagnosed.
While the Trojans have the personnel to cope with Madden’s absence in redshirt junior Javorius Allen, aka Buck, and sophomore Justin Davis, the injury furthers concerns surrounding Madden’s durability. He missed all of 2012 when he tore his ACL in a non-contact situation shortly after making the switch from linebacker to running back. Starting 2013 strongly with four 100-yard games out of five, he tweaked his hamstring and was limited for most of the second half of the season.
Davis will surely benefit the most from the injury as he slides into the second spot behind Allen, the projected-starter. Soma Vainuku will likely assume the third place in the pecking order should Madden be unfit to play.
Dawson has been limited in fall camp, so it is not much of a surprise that the senior will be held out of the early season as works his way back from an ACL tear. His replacement in 2013 and projected starter Anthony Sarao, a redshirt junior, appears settled in the starting WILL position.
With Dawson unavailable, however, the depth at linebacker looks all the more thin. True freshman Olajuwon Tucker will slot in as Sarao’s back up in that time, so keeping Sarao healthy will be key in the early goings.