USC Football Injury Report: Cameron Smith Nears Return (4/1)

Linebacker Cameron Smith during USC football practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
Linebacker Cameron Smith during USC football practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

With Cameron Smith and Ronald Jones II nearing a return to full action next week, here’s the full USC football injury report for April 1st.

There was good news and bad news out of USC football spring camp at Howard Jones Field on Saturday.

Undoubtedly the biggest of the news was confirmation that midyear enrollee Tayler Katoa suffered an ACL injury during practice on Thursday.

The linebacker will be out for at least nine months after surgery and is now expected to redshirt in 2017.

MORE: Tayler Katoa to Miss 2017 USC Football Season With Torn ACL

However, despite the bad news for Katoa, there was more good news than bad on the injury front.

Linebacker Cameron Smith, who has missed three practices with a stiff neck, is expected to be back in action on Tuesday.

The timing of his return is fortunate considering the growing depth concern the Trojans face at linebacker. On Saturday, Katoa’s absence prompted Olajuwon Tucker’s move from outside back inside to fill in at the weakside linebacker position.

Sophomore Jordan Iosefa has taken first team reps at middle linebacker with Smith absent, leaving walk on Grant Moore to take second team reps behind him.

USC Injury Report:

  • Out for spring: LB Tayler Katoa (knee), CB Jonathan Lockett (hip), C Toa Lobendahn (knee), WR Steven Mitchell (knee), OT Nathan Smith (knee), WR Trevon Sidney (hip)
  • Out: C Nico Falah (back), RB Aca’Cedric Ware (foot), WR Keyshawn “Pie” Young (groin)
  • Questionable: S C.J. Pollard (ankle), LB Cameron Smith (neck), OL Viane Talamaivao (elbow)
  • Limited: DL Kenny Bigelow (knee), RB Ronald Jones II (toe), TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe (shoulder)

There was more good news at running back with Ronald Jones II able to increase his workload as he works his way back from turf toe.

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“We got a little bit of an orthotic on that toe with a new shoe and hopefully that’s working,” head coach Clay Helton said.

Tight end Tyler Petite seemed to have shaken off his shoulder injury, going full bore during team action on Saturday, though Daniel Imatorbhebhe continued to wear a yellow non-contact jersey.

For running back Aca’Cedric Ware, however, things are still progressing slowly. Ware has been dealing with an ankle problem for most of the spring.

Helton said he’s increased his ability to change direction on the ankle, but he’s still going to be limited to individual work for the time being.

The injuries to Jones and Ware have opened the door for Vavae Malepeai to take the majority of first team reps this week, and that continued on Saturday.