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Thursday, October 24, 2013
Injury impact: Pac-12

By Ted Miller

Coaches say injuries are a part of the game. The Pac-12 blog will tell you that they are a monumental drag, for the player who's hurt as well as his team.

So which Pac-12 teams have been hit the hardest by injuries?

We are not happy you asked. Be forewarned, because of space concerns, not every injury this season is listed.

1. California: Calling California's injuries an epidemic doesn't do the Bears justice, particularly on defense. Against UCLA on Oct. 12, just three players from the preseason depth chart were available to play. This defense would be much different if it had LB Nick Forbes, CB Stefan McClure, LB Brennan Scarlett and DE Mustafa Jalil -- among others -- all season. A couple of hits to the already questionable offensive line haven't helped, either.

2. USC: Because of NCAA scholarship reductions, the Trojans don't have the depth to deal with injuries, so that's a big reason they are struggling. The Trojans will play host to Utah on Saturday without a healthy scholarship tight end. It's likely All-American receiver Marqise Lee will be out, while No. 2 receiver Nelson Agholor also is questionable. Just when RB Silas Redd returns from injuries, the top two RBs while he was gone, Tre Madden and Justin Davis, go down. Defense? Two starters, linebacker Lamar Dawson and safety Dion Bailey, are the most recent casualties.

3. Utah: The good news for Utah is that QB Travis Wilson, who was knocked out of the loss at Arizona, might be ready to play at USC. The bad news is the key guys who already are out. Start with LB Brian Blechen, who has been out the entire season with knee injury. The next big name to go down with a season-ending knee injury was receiver Kenneth Scott in the opener against Utah State. The Utes' two outstanding tight ends, Jake Murphy and Westlee Tonga? Both out.