Four days ago, it sounded like Marc Tyler had next to no chance of playing this week, after he had suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the second half of the USC Trojans' 30-9 win over Cal in San Francisco.
Two days ago, it sounded like Tyler, USC's senior running back, had a small, outside chance to play, after he had experienced some earlier-than-expected recovery.
Now it sounds like he has a legitimate chance to play against the Fighting Irish on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana. He probably won't start, but, at this point, he appears as if he'll make the trip east and provide backup for likely starter Curtis McNeal.
"I feel good," Tyler said Tuesday after he participated in limited individual drills during the two-hour session. " I don't know how it healed so fast or if it is even healed, but it feels good.
"I feel like I can play, definitely be available and if they need me go in there."
He didn't deny that the injury would cause him pain if he ended up playing or even that the injury is causing him pain right now. But he made it clear that, in his mind, the chance to play against Notre Dame is worth more than the potential pain that decision might bring.
"I want to play in this game so bad, it doesn't even matter," Tyler said. " I've never really played at Notre Dame -- I traveled with the team but never played. And last year I feel like I didn't do a good job in that game, and now it's my senior year and to play at Notre Dame would be good."
Tyler, USC's starter in each of the last five games, said he will "probably not" participate in any sort of contact drills leading up to Saturday's game. But he will, he said, be ready for contact in the game -- regardless of what he does in preparation.
As a backup plan in case McNeal gets hurt with a heavy load of carries against the Irish or if the Trojans simply need a different look, they could do a lot worse than a