USC Injury Report: Nathan Smith Tears ACL (12/14)

USC offensive linemen during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC offensive linemen during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

Wednesday’s USC injury report included bad news for offensive lineman Nathan Smith tore his ACL, Clay Helton revealed after practice.

Freshman offensive tackle Nathan Smith is set for a long lay off after an MRI confirmed that he tore his ACL during practice on Tuesday.

“The MRI did come back that he had an ACL tear so we will go ahead and try to get that surgery done as quickly as possible so he has the opportunity to possibly make it back by September,” head coach Clay Helton said after practice on Wednesday.

The injury is unfortunate for both Smith and USC, as it could have major implications for the Trojans prospects in 2017.

USC Injury Report:

  • Out for the season: DT Kenny Bigelow (knee), CB Jonathan Lockett, C Toa Lobendahn (knee), WR Steven Mitchell (knee)
  • Out: DL Noah Jefferson (transfer), RB Vavae Malepeai (shoulder/redshirt), OLB Jabari Ruffin (suspension)
  • Questionable: C Khaliel Rodgers (concussion)
  • Probable: QB Sam Darnold (hip), TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe (hamstring, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (wrist)

FROM TUESDAY: Jonathan Lockett To Undergo Surgery

The Trojans will lose both starting tackles, Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner, to graduation after the Rose Bowl.

The former four-star recruit, who was listed on USC’s final depth chart as the third stringer at right tackle, was expected to compete for a starting job in 2017.

Though Chuma Edoga, who served as the back up on both the right and the left, is expected to win one of the available starting jobs for next year, USC still has a major hole to fill at tackle

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And there could be more added to that on the offensive line if juniors like Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao opt to leave early for the NFL.

Unfortunately Smith will miss spring camp as he rehabs his injury. Every player’s recovery from ACL surgery is different, but it is more than likely he would also miss most, if not all, of fall camp as well.

With Smith unavailable and Banner’s heir apparent E.J. Price gone from the program, the Trojans will turn to redshirt freshman Clayton Johnston and could shift guards Chris Brown, Jordan Austin or Roy Hemsley outside to compete for a starting role.

Center Toa Lobendahn, who is returning from an ACL injury he suffered to start the season, has played tackle in his Trojan career as well and could be an option with Nico Falah established at center.