USC football injury report: Cameron Smith, Palaie Gaoteote “close” (10/17)

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

Cameron Smith and Palaie Gaoteote are close to a return, but still await medical clearance. That and more in the USC football injury report for October 17.

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With USC football getting ready to face off with the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City on Saturday, the Trojans may or may not get a major injury boost at linebacker.

Senior middle linebacker Cameron Smith, who sat out last week’s win over Colorado with a hamstring injury, has not been able to practice fully so far this week. The same goes for his back up, Palaie Gaoteote, who was knocked out of the game against the Buffaloes with a concussion.

Though they have been kept out of contact, the two are “close” to a return, according to head coach Clay Helton.

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“I think tomorrow is a pivotal day,” Helton said after practice on Wednesday, highlighting Thursday as the target for determining their status for the trip to Utah.

On Tuesday, Helton said Smith was feeling positive about his chances of returning from his injury. He has suited up for each practice this week, but spent both days working with a trainer on his own.

On Wednesday, Gaoteote said he feels good despite the head injury. He has been shadowing the linebackers at practice and expects to be ready to go by Saturday.

More clarity will follow on Thursday, but for now, the Trojans should have either their All-American candidate or five-star phenom available versus the Utes.

Should the situation change, former walk-on Reuben Peters would be in line to start. He has taken first team reps throughout the week.

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USC Football Injury Report

  • Out for the season
    • LB Porter Gustin (ankle)
    • LB Tayler Katoa (LDS Mission)
    • DB Isaiah Pola-Mao (shoulder)
    • K Chase McGrath (knee)
  • Out
    • TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe (quad)
    • LB Oluwole Betiku (hip)
    • LB Solomon Tuliaupupu (foot)
    • DB Olaijah Griffin (shoulder)
    • DB Jonathan Lockett (hip)
    • DB Isaac Taylor-Stuart (ankle)
    • DB Chase Williams (knee)
  • Questionable
    • OL Jacob Daniel (knee)
    • LB Palaie Gaoteote (concussion)
    • LB Cameron Smith (hamstring)
  • Probable
    • OL Clayton Bradley (back)
    • OL Bernard Schirmer (neck)
    • DL Brandon Pili (shoulder)
    • DL Marlon Tuipulotu (elbow)
    • LB Raymond Scott (hand)

The only new injury development on Wednesday was a sore knee taking backup guard Jacob Daniel out of the line up.

The Trojans have had a touch of luck with defensive linemen Brandon Pili and Marlon Tuipulotu practicing despite injuries they picked up against Colorado.

However, defensive backs Olaijah Griffin, Jonathan Lockett, Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Chase Williams are all set to miss out due to a variety of injuries.