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Armstead expects to be cleared

USC defensive end Armond Armstead expects to be able to play in the Trojans' season opener on Sept. 3 against Minnesota.

Throughout the summer, Armstead's status was one of the bigger unknowns surrounding the Trojans. The senior essentially missed all of spring practice while recovering from a March hospitalization, and he couldn't participate fully in any offseason workouts at USC while he waited to be cleared by on-campus doctors.

Even last week at Pac-12 media day, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said he had heard nothing new on Armstead.

But, on the first day of fall camp Thursday, Armstead was able to participate in some individual workouts in the early part of practice, and Kiffin interrupted his injury report with the media after practice to add an update to his situation.

"Armond Armstead was limited, which was actually good news, to have him out here working individually," Kiffin said. "He'll be limited for now. We'll continue tests with him, but things are going in a very good direction.

"We look for him to continue to work with us so we can bring him all the way up to full speed, eventually."

Armstead, who turned 21 Wednesday, said he feels completely fine and is only waiting for the OK from the doctors at this point. But the issue has lasted five months already, and, by Kiffin's use of the word eventually, it wouldn't be a surprise if it lasted a while longer.

Issues that stem from chest pain typically take a while to resolve, although both Armstead and Kiffin did emphasize that his hospitalization had nothing to do with his heart.

"I knew I never had a heart condition, basically," Armstead said Thursday. "I never believed I had anything wrong with me when I was in the hospital, throughout the whole time.

"And doctors just confirmed that."

When asked what exactly it was that was sidelining him, if not his heart, Armstead took on a strong tone.

"I don't have anything," Armstead said. "I haven't had anything related happen throughout workouts. I've been fine in conditioning. It's just a process, you know? You just have to wait. What happened was serious, so it's a process."

As far as his fitness level, Armstead said he was down to 285 pounds, the lightest he's been since he arrived at USC in the summer of 2008. He played last season at 295. If healthy come September, he could rotate with Nick Perry, Wes Horton and Devon Kennard at defensive end and move inside at times to provide a pass-rushing presence at defensive tackle.