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USC REPORT

Leinart Has Ankle and Knee Injuries

October 07, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC quarterback Matt Leinart did not practice Monday, but he said he planned to play Saturday against Stanford despite a high ankle sprain and bruised right knee.

Leinart suffered the injuries and came out of the game early in the second quarter against Arizona State. He returned at the start of the second half and led the Trojans to victory.

"It hurts," Leinart said of his ankle. "I can't really run on it right now, but I'll see how it goes.... I'm going to make the game."

Leinart said he was receiving medical treatment several times a day, but had not taken a pain-killing injection. He was to be fitted with a brace on Monday night.

Coach Pete Carroll said Leinart's fitness would be evaluated at practice today, and that juniors Matt Cassel and Brandon Hance would compete for the primary back-up role.

Cassel replaced Leinart against Arizona State, but Hance was told to prepare to start the second half.

"Matt [Cassel] got the first look, Brandon is going to get a good look this week," Carroll said.

Hance said he was eager for the opportunity.

"I haven't taken more than two reps in a practice for quite some time," Hance said. "Saturday was a reality check.... It was all of a sudden you might be in. It taught me to stay prepared at all times because anything can happen."

Freshman John David Booty also said he would be ready if called upon. But Booty reiterated that he would not be opposed to redshirting if the coaches thought it best.

"I'm totally fine with that -- I still have four years left," he said. "As long as we're winning, they're making the right decision. I signed up for the long run."

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LenDale White's 140-yard rushing performance against Arizona State put him in the USC record book, but not in the starting lineup.

Carroll said sophomore Hershel Dennis remains the starter. "LenDale is going to get a lot of work," Carroll said. "Hershel has a lot of duties too. He's our starter right now. To me, that's just who goes out first."

White, who rushed for more yards than any true freshman in USC history, said he feels the same way. "All of us do different things and the team needs all of us to perform," White said. "I know I'll get my chance."

Freshman Chauncey Washington, who missed Saturday's game because of a high ankle sprain, practiced and said he planned to play against Stanford.

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Offensive tackle Winston Justice (ankle) and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (ankle), both starters who missed the Arizona State game, did light drills and will be evaluated as the week goes on, Carroll said.... Receiver Chris McFoy (ankle) did individual agility drills.

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