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USC's Armond Armstead hopes to be cleared to play soon

The senior defensive lineman, sidelined since spring because of an unspecified medical condition, will sit out against Syracuse and hopes to have a decision by USC next week regarding his status.

September 15, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead will not be on the field Saturday when the Trojans play Syracuse.
USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead will not be on the field Saturday… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Armond Armstead watched his teammates play two games without him.

He'll watch again Saturday when the Trojans play Syracuse.

Armstead, a senior defensive lineman sidelined since spring because of an unspecified medical condition, said Thursday that he has been frustrated by a process that he hopes will conclude next week with a decision by USC regarding his status.

"Outside of SC I've got two other opinions," he said. "[But] they can't clear me. They're not the ones who make the decisions."

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Armstead was regarded as one of the most important parts of USC's defensive line, a player who could play tackle and end.

His ordeal began last spring when he experienced chest pain and went to the hospital. He said doctors ruled out a heart problem, but he was not allowed to participate in spring workouts or training camp.

Asked whether his condition involved a blood issue, he said, "I don't know. The only the thing I can say is they have looked for every condition that is possible and all of them have come back negative.

"There's no other tests they can run."

USC Coach Lane Kiffin has given clipped answers when asked about Armstead's status, saying only that a meeting is expected next week.

Asked whether he was optimistic about the outcome, Armstead said, "I really don't even know anymore. I'm just going to keep going through this process.

"It's been tough, but I've had the support of all my coaches, all my teammates and all my family. Everyone has been there for me. I know it's not in my hands — it's really in God's hands.

"So I'll just let him work everything out. Whatever happens, I have to live with that."

Armstead could redshirt, transfer to another school if USC does not clear him, or declare for the NFL draft.

"I've thought about all my options, obviously, because you don't know," he said. "But I haven't made a decision. I'm still waiting."

Baucham ineligible

Junior cornerback Brian Baucham, who played as a backup and also on special teams the last two seasons, is academically ineligible and will not play this season, Kiffin said.

Baucham has been practicing but has not worked with the first- or second-team defenses. His ineligibility leaves the Trojans without one of their more experienced cornerbacks.

"With all the emphasis that is placed on doing things right here academically we're extremely disappointed in Brian," Kiffin said.

Baucham said his situation involved a class he took a few summers ago. He said he would use this season to, "Get better, get stronger, get wiser."

Quick hits

Marcus Martin continued to work with the first-team offense at left guard and appears on track to become the first true freshman since Jeff Byers in 2004 to start at guard for USC…. Syracuse is attempting to start the season 3-0, a feat not accomplished by the Orange since 1991.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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