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Several players sustain injuries

USC NOTES

September 30, 2007|David Wharton and Gary Klein | Times Staff Writers

SEATTLE -- Top-ranked USC might have walked away with a victory against Washington on Saturday night, holding on for a 27-24 victory, but the Trojans did not escape unscathed.

Center Kristofer O'Dowd hurt his kneecap and guard Chilo Rachal sprained his knee, both players leaving the game in the first half.

Cornerback Shareece Wright sustained a pulled hamstring muscle and tailback Stafon Johnson suffered a foot injury.

"We really got hammered," Coach Pete Carroll said.

Tailback C.J. Gable dressed for the game but did not play because of a groin injury that will be examined later this week.

Wright said his hamstring was not too badly hurt and that he expects to play next week.

Saturday's game marked the long-awaited return of offensive lineman Matt Spanos. The fifth-year senior missed all of last season when he was ruled academically ineligible and, this summer, tore a triceps muscle in training camp.

Spanos decided to postpone surgery and was cleared to play this week with a heavy brace on his arm. He was called into action when O'Dowd suffered a kneecap injury.

"Right when I heard Kris go down, I felt so bad, I didn't even think about, 'Oh . . . I'm going to go in there,' " he said.

Not all went perfectly. There was a fumbled snap when, according to Carroll, Spanos' knee brace got hung up on his arm brace. The center was also called for a penalty.

Still, he drew high marks from Carroll and quarterback John David Booty, who was sacked only once. The offensive line, which also included reserve Alatini Malu, led the way for 224 yards rushing.

"I don't know how he feels," Carroll said. "But it was a remarkable return for him."

Junior linebacker Rey Maualuga had a team-best 10 tackles for the Trojans, who limited Washington to 190 yards.

Senior linebacker Thomas Williams, who started at the strong-side spot, had six tackles and intercepted a pass.

Senior defensive end Lawrence Jackson also had six tackles, including a sack.

david.wharton@latimes.com

gary.klein@latimes.com

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