Trojans RB Tre Madden out for 2012

LOS ANGELES -- The injury bug has been nipping at the USC Trojans all spring, as wide receivers and tight ends have missed time with nagging injuries.

But during Thursday's practice it took a big bite out of the Trojans' running back depth, as tailback Tre Madden tore a ligament in his knee and will be out for the 2012 season, according to a school news release.

It happened on a run in which Madden was untouched and but went to the ground after attempting to make a cut in the open field.

Through only a handful of practices after making the transition from outside linebacker, Madden had impressed with his combination of balance and forward lean and looked like he would make a case to become the big back the Trojans could rely on this season.

With Madden out of the lineup, the Trojans are again down to three scholarship tailbacks, as redshirt senior Curtis McNeal will be relied on heavily to carry the load this year.

Behind McNeal, redshirt sophomore D.J. Morgan and redshirt freshman Buck Allen will likely be asked to step up into bigger roles.

Morgan has had a somewhat quiet but effective spring, while Allen has participated in very few practices while nursing a hamstring injury.

Madden will redshirt this season and look to return to the field as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.