YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


USC's Marqise Lee says he's '100%' back from shoulder injury

The Biletnikoff Award winner says his right shoulder is 'solid' after suffering a bone bruise on Aug. 9. He is eager to learn who will start at quarterback.

August 19, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • USC wide receiver Marqise Lee is confident he'll be healthy enough to play in the Trojans' season opener against Hawaii.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee is confident he'll be healthy enough… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

USC receiver Marqise Lee lifted his right hand high above his head Monday and proclaimed that his injured right shoulder was "solid."

Lee, speaking with reporters for the first time since suffering what USC has described as a bone bruise, had just finished a team practice in preparation for the Trojans' Aug. 29 opener at Hawaii.

Coach Lane Kiffin said Lee was "pretty much all the way back." Lee said he was "100% back."

Like USC fans, the Biletnikoff Award winner is eager to find out who Kiffin will choose as the starting quarterback.

Cody Kessler took the majority of first-team snaps Sunday, but Max Wittek got plenty of work with the first team Monday.

"One week I'll be like, 'Oh, yeah, Cody did a great job,'" Lee said. "Next day, Max comes out and does a great job.

"I'm like 'Oh, my God.' So I'm glad I'm not the coach. It's a big decision for Kif. It's all on his back — his problem — all I've got to do is catch the ball."

Lee joked that he intended Monday night to ask Kiffin whom he was choosing.

"Everybody watch my Twitter," he said.

Lee's status for the opener appeared questionable on Aug. 9 when he caught a pass in practice and landed hard on his right shoulder after a defender made contact. Lee was escorted from the practice facility by trainers and then whisked away via cart to have X-rays.

"I was scared for a moment," Lee said. "But as soon as I got up and got a chance to walk around and feel it, then I realized OK, I'm OK. I'll be all right."

Lee is wearing a yellow jersey to warn defenders against making contact, but he is running at full speed and leaping for balls thrown high and low.

When Lee was sidelined for a few days immediately after he was injured, Kiffin told reporters it was important for the junior to get back onto the field because he had a number of things to work on.

Lee agreed.

"It's not like he's putting me down or anything," Lee said. "That's motivation, to go out there and do what I need to do."

Lee said he must improve "finishing" and "looking the ball in."

"Make sure I catch the ball before I actually make a move," he said. "Things like that."

Lee has recently energized practices with receptions and his enthusiasm. Sunday night at the Coliseum, he jawed with safety Josh Shaw to motivate offensive and defensive players.

"I don't always have to catch a pass," he said of his ability to influence the team. "I can block and I can always just talk to them to get them hyped."

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast game-planned for Lee when he was a member of California's staff. Now his charges face Lee every day in practice.

"I'll be glad when I can walk into the Coliseum and be on the same sideline instead of the opposite sideline," Pendergast said. "That's for sure."

Quick hits

Center Marcus Martin sat out after injuring his knee Sunday. Guard Max Tuerk worked at times in his spot. ... Linebacker Quinton Powell intercepted a tipped pass thrown by Wittek. ... Safety Dion Bailey (hip) and receiver Victor Blackwell (knee) remain sidelined. @latimesklein

Los Angeles Times Articles