USC vs. Utah Injury Report: Palaie Gaoteote medically cleared

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

The Trojans still have questions around the availability of linebacker Cameron Smith and Palaie Gaoteote. Here’s the injury report ahead of the USC vs. Utah game.

USC vs. Utah. Full Game Preview

Going into this year’s USC vs. Utah game, the Trojans have two major game-time injury decisions which are sure to impact the matchup.

Starting linebacker Cameron Smith, who missed last week’s game against Colorado, remains in doubt with a hamstring injury. Though he has progressed in his recovery, according to head coach Clay Helton on Thursday, he did not participate in practice this week. Thus, his status for Saturday will be determined just before the game.

Backup middle linebacker Palaie Gaoteote is also in doubt for the battle with Utah, though his chances of suiting up and starting figure to be slightly higher than Smith’s.

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The true freshman started last week in Smith’s stead, but suffered an apparent concussion early in the third quarter. He was held from contact during USC’s Tuesday and Wednesday practices while going through concussion protocol. He was medically cleared and practiced fully on Thursday, Helton said. However, he was still described as a game-time decision.

Though it was former walk-on Reuben Peters who stepped in for Gaoteote last Saturday and took first team reps in practice this week, Helton indicated that starting strongside linebacker Jordan Iosefa would be the one to step in at middle linebacker if both Smith and Gaoteote are unavailable.

While the Trojans may have Smith and Gaoteote available to them, there are several players who will not be suiting up against the Utes.

Cornerback Olaijah Griffin suffered a shoulder injury against Colorado and will be out at least this week, if not next, Helton said on Thursday.

Cornerback and emergency safety Chase Williams hyper-extended his knee and will also miss out.

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Nickelback Jonathan Lockett has missed practice time with a hip injury. On Thursday, Helton didn’t rule him out, but did call him another game-time decision.

USC 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 Isaac Taylor-Stuart (ankle)
    • DB Chase Williams (knee)
  • Questionable
    • OL Jacob Daniel (knee)
    • LB Cameron Smith (hamstring)
    • DB Jonathan Lockett (hip)
  • Probable
    • OL Clayton Bradley (back)
    • OL Bernard Schirmer (neck)
    • DL Brandon Pili (shoulder)
    • DL Marlon Tuipulotu (elbow)
    • LB Palaie Gaoteote (concussion)
    • LB Raymond Scott (hand)

Utah Injury Report

  • Out for the season
    • OL Johnny Capra (undisclosed)
    • RB Devonta’e Henry-Cole (undisclosed)
    • WR Bryan Thompson (undisclosed)
    • DE Blake Kuithe (undisclosed)
    • LB Moroni Anae (undisclosed)
  • Questionable
    • DE Mika Tafua (undisclosed)
    • WR Siaosi Mariner (undisclosed)
  • Probable
    • OL Lo Falemaka (undisclosed)

The Utes lost a number of players for the season before the campaign even began, including center Johnny Capra, running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole, wide receiver Bryan Thompson, defensive end Blake Kuithe and linebacker Moroni Anae.

When it comes to players who could have an impact on Saturday’s game, there are three Utes in question.

Center Lo Falemaka missed Utah’s last two games with an undisclosed injury but may figure to return to the lineup this week.

CHECK OUT: Five takeaways from the defensive win over Colorado

Starting defensive end Mika Tafua and wide receiver Siaosi Mariner also sat out last week against Arizona and their status is now unclear.