USC is contemplating surgery for JuJu Smith-Schuster, who fractured his hand during the Trojans’ 27-21 victory over Cal on Saturday.
“We’re discussing right now about a possible surgery that could happen soon that could put a small plate and a screw in a bone to secure that bone,” interim head coach Clay Helton said during his Sunday conference call. “I know that this is the best option and we’re planning on going that route here soon.”
The surgery could “rapidly” help speed recovery for the star wide receiver. However, no decision has been made on that possibility as they plan to determine Monday morning exactly what will suit Smith-Schuster going forward.
Contingent on case-by-case factors, Smith-Schuster could be out a matter of days or weeks. Helton could not say if he would be availbale for USC’s upcoming match up with Arizona.
Smith-Schuster played through a fracture in his hand last year with the help of a cast. He returned to Saturday’s game with a similar aid but ultimately he was removed after tallying five catches for 55 yards, only one of which came in the second half.
The sophomore wide out has been USC’s top option in the passing game in 2015. He has hauled in 52 receptions for 956 yards and eight touchdowns, well clear of the Trojans’ next most productive receiver, Adoree’ Jackson, who has 19 catches for 334 yards.
USC has already suffered several injury setbacks in the wide receiving corps this season. Darreus Rogers, Steven Mitchell and Isaac Whitney have all missed extended time with injury.
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Rogers and Mitchell returned to action against Cal, though the pair was limited to five combined receptions. Whitney, who broke his collarbone during practice weeks ago, will likely remain sidelined for the coming weeks.
Without Smith-Schuster and with Mitchell and Rogers still somewhat slowed, the Trojans may turn to Jackson to focus his energy on offense once more. Jackson was used more at cornerback against Cal due to the threat of their passing game.
Other option who could emerge are blueshirt freshman Deontay Burnett, who led the Trojans in receiving yards this week with three catches for 82 yards, and junior college transfer De’Quan Hampton, who has seen his involvement increase recently after rarely seeing the field earlier this season.