Porter Gustin is well on his way back from knee surgery and now looks likely to play in the season opener. Here’s the USC football injury report for August 28.
USC football’s UNLV Tuesday practice held some promising injury news on the recovery front for one starter while opening the door for concern over another.
The good news first: Linebacker Porter Gustin was able to practice in full pads on Tuesday, continuing his progress back from knee surgery. The surgery was necessary to fix a torn meniscus he suffered during the first week of Fall Camp and held expectations for a two-to-four week layoff.
Currently in Week 3 since surgery, the player is more than on track for a swift return.
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“I feel pretty confident right now,” head coach Clay Helton said when asked about Gustin’s chances of playing on Saturday.
Having seen Gustin through a full pads practice, Helton now wants to see how his knee responds in the coming days. Two factors will determine if he ultimately suits up: clearance from the doctors and Gustin’s own confidence in his return.
Now for the bad news. Center Toa Lobendahn sat out practice Tuesday with a pectoral strain. His injury status as described by Helton is “day-to-day.”
Lobendahn’s departure from the lineup moved redshirt freshman Brett Neilon up into the first team and he performed as well there as he did when filling in for the veteran back in Spring Camp.
Still, it doesn’t bode well for USC’s continuity up front that Lobendahn is dealing with injury trouble on the eve of the new season.
And he wasn’t the only lineman with an issue. Though Chuma Edoga, Andrew Vorhees, Austin Jackson and Clayton Bradley have returned from their own health concerns, backup guard Jordan Austin was also pulled on Tuesday with a pectoral strain.
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Meanwhile, tight end Josh Falo went down during practice and limped off the field with an apparent hamstring problem. His status will be assessed as the week progresses, but his absence would surely be noted. Fellow F tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe is still not cleared for full contact as he slowly progresses back from a longterm hip issue. Making matters worse, walk-on tight end Austin Applebee remains sidelined as he deals with a case of mono.
USC Football Injury Report
- Out for the season
- LB: Tayler Katoa (LDS Mission)
- DL Liam Jimmons (toe)
- LB Oluwole Betiku (hip)
- LB Palaie Gaoteote (knee)
- LB Solomon Tuliaupupu (foot)
- OL Jordan Austin (pec)
- OL Toa Lobendahn (pec)
- TE Austin Applebee (mono)
- TE Josh Falo (hamstring)
- TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe (quad)
- WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (ankle)
- WR Jake Russell (hamstring)
- RB Markese Stepp (concussion)
- LB Porter Gustin (knee)
Other Trojans are in doubt for Saturday’s matchup with UNLV.
Wide receivers Josh Imatorbhebhe and Jake Russell are still rehabbing an ankle and hamstring injury respectively. Plus, running back Markese Stepp has yet to clear concussion protocol.
Not in doubt? Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote. He has been ruled out while he recovers from his own meniscus tear. He is at least a week away from getting back on the practice field, Helton said Tuesday.
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He’s not the only one who will certainly miss out this weekend. Defensive lineman Liam Jimmons won’t take part because of turf toe while linebackers Oluwole Betiku and Solomon Tuliaupupu won’t be available because of hip and foot surgery respectivel.