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Insider

Injuries a concern going into rough stretch

9/24/2013

As the Trojans prepare for an important three-game stretch of games against Arizona State, Arizona and Notre Dame, it’s time to take a look at the injury status for some key positions.

The most glaring injury absence right now is tailback Silas Redd, the projected starter and leading returning rusher from last year who has yet to see action in 2013 while recuperating from a spring knee injury. Redd even underwent a procedure earlier this month in Florida with noted Dr. James Andrews in an attempt to get back on the field sooner. It hasn’t helped, although Redd did at least dress for the Utah State game.

In the four games without Redd, however, the Trojans appear to have found a lead tailback in Tre Madden, along with a promising freshman in Justin Davis. It remains to be seen where Redd would fit in the rotation if he does return soon. His hard running presence would be welcome but it’s hard to imagine him completely replacing Madden at the moment.

The guess here is that USC coach Lane Kiffin would use Redd as part of a three-back rotation with Madden continuing to get the bulk of the carries. There is also the potential return of D.J. Morgan, who has also battled knee issues since spring. Morgan brings a speed element which would be enticing, but he would have a hard time getting touches away from Madden, Davis or Redd.

At receiver, the Trojans are already thin due to season-ending knee injuries to George Farmer and Steven Mitchell so the loss of Darreus Rogers to an ankle injury is a blow to a weakened unit. It hasn’t hurt the Trojans yet because they can’t even find enough catches for Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, but at some point they are going to need Rogers and his physical style of play.

On defense, the front line is performing well but they would welcome the return of defensive ends J.R. Tavai and Greg Townsend., the top two reserves for Leonard Williams and George Uko. The play of the line has been a bright spot for the defense so far and Tavai and Townsend will bring much needed depth up front as the wear and tear of the season goes along.

In the secondary, Anthony Brown was a starter at corner for the opener against Hawaii before leaving that game with an apparent ankle injury. Brown has yet to return to action while the corner rotation continues to be a work in progress. Josh Shaw has been moved from safety to corner for the past two games, and Torin Harris was replaced by Kevon Seymour during the Utah State game after giving up two big pass plays.

Kiffin also said in his Sunday night media call that Cody Kessler and Lee were both banged up last weekend against the Aggies but he expects both to be back in action on Saturday against ASU.