Wide receiver Deontay Burnett was held out of Saturday’s practice, but a key running back returned. Here’s the latest USC football injury news.
A nasty spill near the end of USC football’s Thursday practice at the Coliseum kept wide receiver Deontay Burnett out of action on Saturday when the Trojans returned for practice on Howard Jones field.
Burnett laid out for a pass in the endzone on Thursday but landed hard and had to be checked out by trainers. Head coach Clay Helton said the receiver “dinged his head” and was held out as a precaution.
Further evaluation will determine whether or not he can return to practice next week.
In more positive injury news, running back Aca’Cedric Ware made his return on Saturday from an ankle injury. He saw action with the first team and had success during live 11-on-11 scrimmaging, particularly between the tackles.
While his spot as USC’s No. 2 running back behind Ronald Jones had been assumed to be solidified, his injury this spring allowed redshirt freshman Vavae Malepeai to shine in his absence. How the backfield shakes out will be decided in the fall, though Ware’s progress and success on Saturday should only bode well for his stake in the race.
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), OL Viane Talamaivao (elbow)
- Out: WR Deontay Burnett (head), CB Iman Marshall (shoulder), OL Andrew Voorhees (back), WR Keyshawn “Pie” Young (groin)
- Limited: DL Kenny Bigelow (knee), OL Chuma Edoga (wrist/hand), C Nico Falah (back), TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe (shoulder)
Junior offensive tackle Chuma Edoga wore a clubbed cast Saturday after suffering a bent-back finger on his right hand, in addition to a sore wrist. X-rays proved to be negative according to Helton, which shouldn’t impede on his playing time as long as he wears the club.
However, down the just three tackles, USC moved Edoga, Clayton Johnston and Chris Brown around to give Edoga time at right tackle, maximizing his efficiency by making his healthy left hand his inside hand.
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After missing weeks of action with a herniated disc, senior offensive lineman Nico Falah was back at center with the first team for the second straight practice. Head coach Clay Helton gave him a ‘pitch count’ of 24 plays –up from 10 on Thursdary– during Saturday’s scrimmage session, which he finished without a hiccup.
Falah’s future appears to be as a starter for the Trojans, though his injury has made things complicated. Tuesday word came out he intends to move to tackle, while Helton said Saturday that both Toa Lobendan —who is recovering from an ACL tear— and Falah will get ample time at all three offensive line positions in fall camp.
As they did last year, the coaching staff will wait two weeks to form a depth chart and start finalizing the starting five prior to the Week 1 game against Western Michigan on September 2.