On concussions, McNeal and Woods

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
2:24
PM PT
Two of USC's skill-position starters appeared to suffer head injuries in the first quarter of Thursday's win over Utah in Salt Lake City, but both players are fine and expect to play Saturday against Washington.

Only of them came out of the game for an extended period: running back Curtis McNeal, who sat out the rest of the night. The other, receiver Robert Woods, exited for one play before returning upon being cleared by USC's medical staff.

After the Trojans' Tuesday practice, which he did not participate in, McNeal said he'd play against the Huskies. He was taken down on a hard hit during a 7-yard carry that did not count because of a penalty. He didn't return that night.

"I'll be ready to go," McNeal said Tuesday. "I'll see the doctor today and they'll let me know what I should do."

McNeal said he felt fine by the second quarter but was told he was being held out as a precaution.

Woods, who fell to the turf while trying to get off the field after a big hit on a punt return near the end of the period, did not have any medical limitations for Tuesday's practice session.

He said he felt lucky to be able to return without complications.

"I'm blessed that there's no side effects after that," Woods said.

Woods watched the video of the incident before boarding the plane back to Los Angeles that night.

"First, I was like, 'Wow,' " he said. "And then after, I was like, 'Wait, I did all of that?' I didn't know I laid down on the ground that long.

"It's fun to laugh at now, but it's just a blessing that I'm all right."

Woods said he has been tested twice more since the initial incident, including on Friday upon returning to Los Angeles and again on Monday.

His mother told him she turned off the game after he fell and went upstairs to pray. His aunt called to inform her of Woods' touchdown later in the game, "but she still wasn't watching."

McNeal said he failed -- "or semi-passed" -- the mandatory concussion test administered to him following his hit. He got tripped up on one portion of the questioning.

"I knew the president," McNeal said. "But when I got to the math questions I had to think too hard, and I was just like, 'Yeah, I'm good.' "

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