TEMPE, Ariz. — USC may have lost more than a game Saturday night against Arizona State, as standout receiver Marqise Lee suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the Trojans’ 62-41 defeat.
The 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner was injured while returning a punt early in the fourth quarter. Lee’s left knee appeared to twist awkwardly as he was tackled, and he lay on the field in obvious pain. He was carried to the sideline by teammates and examined by trainers on the sidelines before being carted off the field.
After the game, USC coach Lane Kiffin said he didn’t have details on the injury but wasn’t optimistic.
“Obviously it didn’t look very good. It didn’t sound very good or look very good, so that’s all I got for you.”
Asked what part of Lee’s leg was injured, Kiffin said, “His knee.”
Lee exited with seven catches for 92 yards, including a 51-yard reception in the third quarter. During the game, he passed Johnny Morton to become USC’s all-time leader in receiving yards. Last season, Lee set Pac-12 records with 118 catches and 1,721 yards.
Without Lee, USC is down to two healthy scholarship receivers: sophomores Nelson Agholor and Victor Blackwell. The Trojans are already down 20 scholarships due to NCAA sanctions and traveled to Tempe with just 55 scholarship players. Losing Lee for any length of time would be a major blow.