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Cody Kessler, Marqise Lee heal, and expect USC offense to do same

Trojans' quarterback Kessler says his bruised throwing hand is fine; receiver Lee says he has same abilities as last season despite an injured ankle.

September 24, 2013|By Gary Klein

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USC quarterback Cody Kessler and receiver Marqise Lee, who suffered injuries last week against Utah State, said Tuesday that they were preparing for Saturday's game against Arizona State with hopes of seeing the offense come together.

Kessler suffered a bruised right hand in the first half of the Trojans' 17-14 victory. His accuracy suffered in the second half when he completed only five of 14 passes for 58 yards.

"It was just swelled up this high off my hand Sunday," Kessler said, motioning over the back of his right hand. "But it went down. I just iced it down a ton."

Kessler said he was "fine" and could grip the ball without a problem.

Kessler has completed 61% of his passes for 537 yards and four touchdowns, with two interceptions.

"There's still stuff we will get better on," he said. "We will improve those downfield plays that we missed last week. We'll start connecting."

Lee, who was sidelined for part of training camp because of a shoulder injury, suffered an ankle injury against Utah State.

The All-American said he was "getting treatment every day" and still has the same abilities he demonstrated during his first two seasons. "I think I'm up to par," he said.

Lee said he was not frustrated by a dearth of the big plays that he was accustomed to making last season.

Lee has 23 receptions and is averaging 12.7 yards a catch. He has scored only one touchdown — on an 80-yard catch-and-run against Boston College.

"I don't really get frustrated at all … because I understand the situation," Lee said, adding, "It just takes time. New quarterback — there's no more [Matt] Barkley, a person who when I came in knows everything.

"It takes time and Cody's getting on the right page. We're going to be all right as far as the passes that everybody wants me to catch."

Lee said his main concern is keeping the team positive and avoiding the negativity that plagued the 2012 Trojans.

"Last year, that was a flaw of our team," he said, adding, "Now, this year, it's moving forward, staying positive and always pumping each other up."

USC is 0-1 in the Pac-12 Conference after losing to Washington State on Sept. 7. Lee said he considers each game individually, but acknowledged the importance of defeating Arizona State and avoiding an 0-2 start in conference play.

"0-2? Pac-12?" he said. "That's not a good look, truthfully."

Quick hits

Offensive lineman Aundrey Walker was in uniform for practice but he had a protective boot on his right foot.... Receiver Darreus Rogers, sidelined against Utah State because of an ankle injury, walked with a limp and was not in pads for practice.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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