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USC BASKETBALL

Stewart Held Out of Practice Over Weight Issue

October 15, 2006|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

USC senior guard Lodrick Stewart, the Pacific 10 Conference's leading active career scorer with 956 points, is being held out of practice by the coaching staff until he loses an undisclosed amount of weight.

Stewart, who averaged 12.3 points last season, participated in a brief practice Friday night but was barred from two sessions Saturday that Coach Tim Floyd called the official start of practice.

"He's got to lose a little bit," Floyd said of Stewart, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard who is listed at 220 pounds in the team's preseason prospectus. "He was given the weight that we wanted him to meet in March and I'm not sure he really believed that we would do this until a month ago because he came in heavier than he did when he left.

"So, we felt like it was important for his game and for our team that he make some changes, and I trust that he will."

Though Stewart could not be reached for comment, he said Friday night that he was "trying to slim down 10 more pounds before the season and be the best all-around player I can be my last year."

Last season, Stewart dropped about 20 pounds to a playing weight of 210 following a jump-rope regimen.

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Floyd said he has not ruled out a redshirt season for freshman forward Kasey Cunningham, who continues to be sidelined by the lingering effects of a torn ligament in his left knee.

Cunningham was an observer at practice Saturday. Wearing a knee brace, he rode a stationary bike and ambled onto the court during lulls in the action to take a few shots.

"It's hard to just sit out there and watch everyone else get to go," said 6-7 Cunningham, who suffered the injury in January. "But you've got to mentally prepare yourself" for the possibility of not playing.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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