USC RB Marc Tyler cleared to play

USC running back Marc Tyler, who has missed almost all of the Trojans' past two games with a dislocated shoulder, returned to practice Tuesday and is cleared to play in Saturday's game against Washington, although the team is being cautious with him.

The senior wore a yellow jersey in practice Tuesday to avoid contact and will continue to do so throughout this week as USC attempts to preserve his health in the long term.

"Marc could play right now," USC coach Lane Kiffin said Tuesday. "But we're still trying not to get him hit."

Tyler initially suffered the injury on the first play of the second half against Cal four games ago, then made a remarkably quick recovery to play nine days later against Notre Dame in South Bend. But he aggravated it on the first play of the Stanford game two weeks ago and missed all of last week's practices in preparation for Colorado, although he did make the trip to Boulder.

In his absence, junior Curtis McNeal has seized the starting spot, carrying the ball a combined 30 times for 232 yards and two touchdowns since Tyler's injury.

But the two continued to be listed as co-starters and it's likely Tyler could share the carries with McNeal this week against the Huskies, providing a bigger presence out of the backfield.

"I'm looking forward to playing," Tyler said. "It feels so long since I've been out there. And it's always fun to play against Coach (Steve) Sarkisian. He recruited me so it's going to be fun."

Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.