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McKnight probably won't play

October 16, 2008|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Tailback Joe McKnight overcame several injuries and ailments during nearly 1 1/2 seasons at USC to play in 18 consecutive games.

But the sophomore from Louisiana, who had a career-best rushing performance last week against Arizona State, said Wednesday that he probably would not play Saturday against struggling Washington State because of a toe injury.

"If we were playing somebody else I'd probably go," McKnight said.

"I can play with pain, but they just want me to rest up this week and come back next week for Arizona."

McKnight rushed for 143 yards against Arizona State, a week after a good performance mainly as a pass catcher against Oregon.

"It was kind of frustrating but I can't let it get the best of me," he said of the injury. "I've just got to come out next week and work hard and get back into the rhythm."

McKnight has been wearing a protective plastic boot on his right foot since Monday. He said was suffering from "turf toe," and has shied from having X-rays.

"I don't like getting X-rays," he said. "It gives you bad things to say after that."

McKnight said the injury is most painful when he attempts to make cuts. He might try to practice today, but reiterated that "it was not looking good" for Saturday.

"Things happen for a reason," he said. "It might be a good experience coming out of this so I'm just going to take it and go with it."

With McKnight and Allen Bradford (hip) sidelined, C.J. Gable, Stafon Johnson and Broderick Green would rotate at tailback against the Cougars, who give up 252 rushing yards a game.

"We lose a couple plays for Joe and his explosiveness, but we're still good," running backs coach Todd McNair said.

Possible shuffle

Right tackle Butch Lewis was absent again because of illness, possibly putting junior Nick Howell on track to start at the spot and freshman Tyron Smith in line to play significant snaps.

Smith would spell Charles Brown at left tackle while Brown rotates to help on the right side.

"This is the other side of continuity right now," Coach Pete Carroll said. "This is trying to get guys ready to play and hope they can do well together."

Quick kicks

Linebackers Brian Cushing (shoulder) and Kaluka Maiava (foot) said they would play against Washington State. However, Michael Morgan and Malcolm Smith are expected to play significant snaps at those spots. . . . Defensive end Everson Griffen and linebacker Jordan Campbell were absent again because of illness, Carroll said. . . . Mitch Mustain will be the No. 2 quarterback for the third consecutive game. . . . Johnson will return punts and receiver Brandon Carswell will back him up. . . . According to a report that must be filed annually as part of the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act of 1994, USC's athletic department balanced its budget, reporting total expenses and revenues of $76.4 million for the period covering July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. The football program generated $28.6 million in revenues on expenses of $21 million. Athletic department revenue from sources such as support groups, donations and endowment income was $39 million.


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