With a bye week before facing Cal next Thursday, USC took the opportunity to rest a number of players on Tuesday, including receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, offensive lineman Jordan Simmons and safety Leon McQuay III.
Smith-Schuster suffered back spasms in the third quarter of USC’s win over Arizona but the Trojans are confident he will be available when they next take the field at the Coliseum.
“We just held him today to try to get some bumps and bruises healed. He’ll be back by Saturday,” Helton said.
Simmons also sat out with tendinitis in his knee, which Helton is hopefully will subside with some rest.
USC Injury Report:
Out for the season: DT Kenny Bigelow (knee), C Toa Lobendahn (knee), WR Steven Mitchell (knee)
Out: RB Justin Davis (ankle), DL Noah Jefferson (academics/shoulder), RB Vavae Malepeai (shoulder)
Questionable: OT Jordan Simmons (knee)
Probable: ILB John Houston (knee), ILB Michael Hutchings (shoulder), CB Jonathan Lockett (shoulder), TE Taylor McNamara (back), S Leon McQuay III (hip/groin), S Ykili Ross (shoulder)
The same goes for McQuay who is dealing with a nagging hip and groin problem. The head coach indicated Tuesday that he should be ready to go by the weekend, when USC will begin early preparation for the midweek contest with the Bears.
Things are less clear when it comes to running back Justin Davis. The senior sprained his ankle against Colorado and missed the Trojans win over Arizona.
Davis was still in a boot on Tuesday but Helton it could come off some time this week.
“He’s starting to feel better but we’ll see how he does once he gets out of the boot,” Helton said.
It was all good news for tackle Zach Banner, who started against the Wildcats and came out of the game with no lingering issues from his own ankle sprain.
“Zach Banner came out with flying colors,” said Helton.
Banner’s healthy return signals a relatively healthy Trojan squad compared to seasons past. Though USC lost receiver Steven Mitchell to a season-ending ACL tear this past weekend, the home stretch of the 2016 season should feature a line up which has held up from injury fairly well, outside of the normal dings and bruises.