USC Football: Khaliel Rodgers Injured Again

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It was more bad news for the USC offensive line as starting center Khaliel Rodgers limped off the field in the middle of practice Sunday.

Rodgers has been the starter since Toa Lobendahn went down with a knee injury against Utah. Lobendahn himself was replacing Max Tuerk, who also injured his knee.

The redshirt sophomore has dealt with a variety of injuries since he entered the starting line up. A separated shoulder has dogged him for weeks while a sprained ankle kept him out of the Pac-12 Championship game against Stanford.

It is not clear what the problem is this time or how long it will take him to get back on the field.

Nico Falah, also a redshirt sophomore, slid over from tackle to center in order to cover for Rodgers when he went out of USC’s victory over UCLA and started in his place in the conference title game. If Rodgers is unable to go in the Holiday Bowl it is Falah who will step into his spot once more.

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The Trojans are also dealing with the absence of Chad Wheeler on the offensive line. Wheeler was put in protective custody for psychiatric evaluation after a run-in with police. The starting left tackle had to be subdued with bean bag rounds on Saturday morning as he was reportedly observed punching walls and windows, perhaps under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in an off-campus apartment.

Right tackle Zach Banner covered for Wheeler on the left, leaving back up Chuma Edoga to take the first team spot on the right.

In addition to the personnel and injury troubles USC faces on the offensive line, the Trojans will take on Wisconsin without offensive line coach Bob Connelly, who was dismissed from the staff after the loss to Stanford. Graduate assistant Mike Goff has taken on the responsibility of handling the offensive line through the bowl game in his place.