McKnight might play in Emerald Bowl after all

Some good news for USC?

Trojans running back Joe McKnight will resume practicing with his teammates today in San Francisco as they prepare for the Emerald Bowl against Boston College on Saturday.

McKnight, who arrived in San Francisco late Wednesday night, has not been cleared to play, but coach Pete Carroll called his return "a most favorable sign."

"Joe did everything he needed to do compliance-wise in L.A., so it was the right thing to get him up here right away," Carroll said in a statement.

McKnight practiced with the Trojans on Monday but remained in Southern California through Wednesday to be available for the university's investigation concerning his use of a 2006 Land Rover that allegedly was provided to his girlfriend by a Santa Monica businessman, a potential violation of NCAA rules.

"We'll just play it out and see what happens from here," Carroll said. "In the meantime, it's great to have Joe back with us."

One would assume USC, which already is under investigation for cases involving former football player Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo, would be cautious about reinstating McKnight. Unless, that is, the school is certain that the NCAA and the Pac-10 will find no wrong-doing.

It's always good for any team to get its starting running back back, particularly one with McKnight's game-breaking talent. But the junior's return also would figure to boost morale around a program that's taken more than a few shots of late.

Still, it remains to be seen if McKnight suits up Saturday evening. Again, one would think USC would take no chances because of other NCAA issues.