USC Football: JuJu Smith-Schuster Fitted With Cast, Could Play


USC football wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster missed again Thursday, but this time it was to be fitted with a cast which may allow him to play for the Trojans as early as this weekend.

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Smith-Schuster sat out the fourth quarter for USC against Cal after injuring the hand. He is by far the Trojans leading receiver, with his 956 receiving yards accounting for 38% of USC’s production through the air this season.

While it still seems unlikely that the sophomore will be ready to go after undergoing surgery on his fractured hand on Monday, he played through a similar injury last season and interim head coach Clay Helton has not ruled out the possibility.

“It’s just going to be a matter of how much pain is he in,” Helton said.

In fact, USC’s injury picture at the moment follows that theme.

Starting middle linebacker Cameron Smith and receiver Darreus Rodgers are each in doubt, but not ruled out, for the Trojans upcoming clash at the Coliseum with Arizona. Both are dealing with hamstring issues which limited them against Cal.

Safety Leon McQuay III suffered a strained right knee early in practice this week and his participation is also in question, though Helton indicated that pain tolerance will play into that decision. McQuay has recently gained favor over John Plattenburg alongside Chris Hawkins at safety for the Trojans but this set back could see the sophomore return to a starting role. The Trojans were boosted by the return of offensive lineman Zach Banner, who missed practice Wednesday to be with his family after the passing of his grandfather. On the other sideline, USC will face a team with more than their share of injury concerns as well.

It was confirmed Thursday that the Wildcats will be without leading rusher Nick Wilson, in addition to starting linebackers Scooby Wright and Derrick Turituri and starting guards Jacob Alsadek and Freddie Tagaloa.