Notebook: Cravens latest to injure knee

LOS ANGELES -- Injuries continue to be one of the big stories for the Trojans this spring as it was confirmed after practice that both George Farmer and Su’a Cravens will undergo knee surgeries.

The news was more dire for Farmer after Kiffin confirmed the earlier media reports of a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, which will force him to miss the 2013 season. For Cravens, he has a torn meniscus in his right knee and will undergo surgery Friday. The injury is the same as the one suffered by Silas Redd. Cravens is expected to miss 4-6 weeks and will be back in plenty of time for fall camp.

“Whenever there is an injury you hope, like Su’a, that’s it’s not going to be a long setback,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “With guys like George, those are the ones you feel really bad for. A guy who battles back and was playing well and then to have this setback.”

The Trojans entered the Thursday practice session with 20 players out of action because of injury and two more left practice – Torin Harris and Cyrus Hobbi.

“I don’t see any way we could practice like this in the fall. We wouldn’t be able to play a game,” Kiffin said. “Of the 22 guys who ended up being out today, 18 of them are scholarship players. With the roster reductions we already have we would not be able to give up that many players. We will start fall camp practicing this way, but I don’t think we will end fall camp this way.”

There was some good news on the injury front as Marqise Lee returned, albeit in a limited role, after missing two-and-a-half weeks with a knee injury. Lee seemed to be running fine with no major issues but he was held out of contact team drills. Kevon Seymour and Jordan Simmons also returned to action.

“Marqise was back, which was obviously good to see,” Kiffin said. “He basically took part in the first hour of practice and we’ll add to him as we go.”

George Uko was out today and J.R. Tavai took his spot with the first unit at defensive end. During the final team drill, Aundrey Walker was out and Max Tuerk had moved to center with Hobbi out, so the first unit left side of the line was walk-on Nathan Guertler at tackle and Giovanni Di Poalo at guard.

Receiver shuffle

With Farmer out, that means opportunities for players such as Victor Blackwell and De’Von Flournoy along with first-year players Darreus Rogers and Steven Mitchell. Kiffin also made sure to note the high level of play from Nelson Agholor this spring when discussing the receiver group.

“We’ve seen a great spring out of Nelson,” Kiffin said. “He makes plays every single day. Victor Blackwell has made a number of plays, which is good. It’s been by far his best camp. Flournoy got set back a little with a hand injury, but he’s made some plays, too.”

Kiffin acknowledged that the loss of Farmer will have an impact.

“We don’t like it for our offense because they don’t make many guys like George who are so big and can run that fast.”

Highlight plays

  • Devon Kennard was active. In an early team drill he stopped Buck Allen at the line and then came back a few plays later and got Justin Davis for no gain. In the final team drill, Kennard led a swarm that tracked down Allen and prevented him from turning the corner.

  • Allen did have a nice run in that early drill when he got to the corner on the left side and went for 20 yards.

  • Flournoy made an impressive grab when he went up over Seymour at the goal line to catch a touchdown pass from Max Wittek.

  • Agholor provided his usual highlight plays. The best came at the end of the day when Wittek threw to him against great coverage/pass interference from Anthony Brown but Agholor came away with the ball for the 20-yard score. He also took a slant pass from Cody Kessler and used his speed to split the safeties for a 40-yard touchdown.

  • Justin Davis had a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle.

  • Jahleel Pinner took a short pass near the goal line from Wittek and put a great juke move on Leon McQuay to go in for the touchdown.

  • Kevin Greene and Morgan Breslin each had a sack.

  • Antwaun Woods got a great break on a snap and was able to bat down a Wittek pass attempt.

  • Tre Madden had a pretty 20-yard run down the left sideline. It will be a real bonus to get him back as part of the running back rotation. Kiffin said the running back spot this fall will be the most complete group at that position since he's been the head coach.

  • Brown had an interception of Wittek after some miscommunication with Blackwell on the route.

Notables in attendance

Former USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson, signees Nico Falah, Steven Mitchell and Michael Hutchings, recruits Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware from Los Angeles Salesian as well as 2015 corner Iman “Biggie” Marshall from Long Beach Poly.


"I'm good. I felt good. I'm not the type of person that likes to sit on the sideline watching. That's not me and that's not fun at all." – Marqise Lee