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USC's Tre Madden suffers injury in spring workout

The tailback falls without being hit and is helped from the field. His left knee appears to be hurt.

April 05, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • Tre Madden was a two-way standout for Mission Viejo High.
Tre Madden was a two-way standout for Mission Viejo High. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

USC's first 10 spring workouts routinely ended with Coach Lane Kiffin providing an optimistic outlook based on the day's events.

Not Thursday.

Sophomore tailback Tre Madden, who has impressed in his switch from linebacker, fell to the ground without being hit late in the workout. He was assisted off the field because of an apparent left knee injury and was taken to the locker room after practice.

Asked if he was concerned that Madden might have suffered a severe injury, a somber Kiffin said, "There's that concern any time with knees, where guys can't really walk afterward. We'll find out."

The 6-foot, 226-pound Madden has provided the Trojans with much-needed depth and a big-back presence. He also gives USC another dimension because he is capable of running and passing from the wildcat formation.

Returning starter Curtis McNeal is enjoying a solid spring and D.J. Morgan also has performed well. But redshirt freshman Javorious Allen remains sidelined because of a hamstring strain, so the Trojans could go into Saturday's scrimmage with only two sound tailbacks.

Walker remains at left tackle

Sophomore Aundrey Walker is on track to begin the season as quarterback Matt Barkley's blindside protector at left tackle.

"It's looking that direction," Kiffin said.

The 6-6, 320-pound Walker has struggled at times since switching from the right side after the first week of workouts. Kiffin, however, said the Ohio native "just fits better" on the left because of "his length and his size." If the Trojans were playing a game Thursday, Kiffin said, Walker would start on the left, junior Kevin Graf on the right.

Graf, last season's starting right tackle, began the spring on the left and was eager to prove he could succeed All-American Matt Kalil, a projected top-five pick in this month's NFL draft.

Kiffin said the situation would be evaluated after the Trojans conclude workouts April 14 but added that "it lets Kevin play better too" because he remains at a position where he is proven.

Quick hits

The new $70-million John McKay Center remains "on point" to be ready for the start of training camp, senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson said during a media tour. The 110,000-square-foot building is expected to move USC near the forefront for its college football facilities after being what Jackson described as "three decades behind" most competitors. Heritage Hall will undergo a renovation that will cost as much as $35 million, Jackson said. The building will house administrative offices and remain home for a few sports, but the goal is to make it "an open showcase for the public" that will feature "a cutting-edge museum-like space," Jackson said…. Redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Kessler had a pass intercepted for the first time this spring…. Saturday's practice at the Coliseum begins at 11 a.m. and is open to the public. Admission is free. Parking $10.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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