Sophomore safety Demetrius Wright returned to practice Tuesday, significantly sooner than was expected after he suffered a hip pointer eight days ago during USC's first scrimmage at the Coliseum.
The Corona native wasn't at full strength, but he was out there, and the USC coaching staff liked what it saw.
“He looks great out here,” Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said afterward.
Even so, Kiffin didn't waste any time getting on Wright. During Tuesday's first tackling drill and his first contact action since getting hurt, Wright missed a tackle and Kiffin made him very aware of his mistake.
Wright said later Tuesday that he appreciated Kiffin's toughness with him. He also gave an indirect reason to why he might have missed the tackle in providing details on his recovery process.
"My hip is fine, I think I'm at 70 [percent] right now," he said. "I'm just taking it slow, and I'm gonna be recovered by the end of the week, by the scrimmage."
USC has a scrimmage scheduled for Sunday at the Coliseum. Wright needs to be out there because he's in an all-out competition with senior Marshall Jones and juniors Drew McAllister and Jawanza Starling for the starting strong safety spot across from junior T.J. McDonald. Before his injury, Wright had been playing with the first-team defense during practices and the scrimmage.
But, in his absence, both Starling and McAllister made some noise -- Starling with solid tackling and McAllister with his trademark ballhawking skills. So, Wright said, he felt like he had lost ground on the others at his position.
"It set me back a lot," he said of the injury. "Today I was winded. I just gotta come out here and start doing some wind sprints so I can get back in shape."