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SPORTS WEEKEND | USC NOTES

Freshman Safety Has Mononucleosis

September 08, 2000|DAVID WHARTON

Freshman safety Matt Grootegoed has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and will miss three to four weeks of practice.

The former Mater Dei High player, absent from practice this week, was not listed on the two-deep roster but had worked his way into position for playing time.

"We weren't counting on him," Dennis Thurman, the secondary coach, said. "He was a bonus."

Now, if Grootegoed's illness lingers, he may be redshirted this season.

"It's definitely a possibility," Coach Paul Hackett said. "I hate to say that but these are the cards that have been dealt us."

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The Trojans held a light practice in the Coliseum on Thursday, mainly to reacquaint the players with their home field. They had not played in the stadium since last spring.

"I just wanted to do this so it would not be a shock," Hackett said, "so they remember what it is like."

Hackett was not exactly pleased to see kicker David Newbury miss several field goal attempts, but he wasn't panicking either.

"It's the first time he has kicked in these conditions," Hackett said. "I'm not going to overreact."

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Tailback Malaefou MacKenzie had another day of practicing gingerly. He now has an injured ankle to go with his sore hamstring. MacKenzie and offensive lineman Joe McGuire might be held out of Saturday's game against Colorado.

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