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College Football | USC REPORT

Numerous Injuries Starting to Clear Up

November 06, 2001|David Wharton

Like many teams around the nation, USC has struggled with injuries, but the Trojans got encouraging news Monday.

Cornerback and returner Kevin Arbet felt good running drills after missing a week because of an ankle injury. Tailback Darryl Poston and receiver Grant Mattos also tested their injured knees.

Linebacker Chris Prosser was back too, cleared to play after several weeks away because of a concussion, and linebacker Lee Webb ran for the first time on a healed fracture in his right foot. Both players have been missed on kickoff coverage, where USC lacked big, quick tacklers.

"Put me on all the special teams," Prosser said. "Whatever I can do to help out, it doesn't matter."

There was even hope for three top players on the sideline. Tackle Jacob Rogers will miss practice the next couple of days because of a hyperextended elbow but Coach Pete Carroll expects him back by the end of the week. Same goes for tight end Alex Holmes, who injured his knee on the first play of overtime against Oregon State.

Holmes, who has been effective as a blocker and receiver the last few weeks, caught a third-down pass to set up the game-winning touchdown.

"I almost took myself out but we only had to run about six plays," he said. "I'm happy I didn't."

Defensive end Lonnie Ford also got hurt against the Beavers, suffering a shoulder injury. As of Monday, he had not heard the results of an MRI exam but said it did not matter.

"I'm going to play regardless," the senior said. "These are my last two games."

At the end of practice, Carroll ordered his team to cheer: "Academics first!" They were holding up two fingers in the victory sign at the time. But Carroll reinforced his words by making a couple of dozen players run sprints as a penalty for academic infractions.

"I missed a couple of classes," tailback Chris Howard said.

"I had to pay for it and I deserved it."

*

USC was belatedly credited with a fumble recovery for the squib kick that struck an Oregon State player and was recovered by linebacker Frank Strong.

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