Howell unlikely to play against USC

Stanford safety Delano Howell will likely miss his second straight game with a hand injury, head coach David Shaw said.

"He probably needs one more week," Shaw said. "We're going to be overly cautious with Delano just to make sure we don't cause any more damage."

The No. 6 Cardinal travel south to face USC on Saturday -- the first of back-to-back road games before closing out the regular season with three straight games at home.

Howell was a late week scratch last week against Washington. In his place, sophomore Devon Carrington and true freshman Jordan Richards got the bulk of the snaps alongside Michael Thomas in the secondary. Richards finished the game with nine tackles -- three solo, and Carrington logged two tackles.

Shaw said Howell would be kept out of practice at least on Tuesday -- possibly more this week.

"It's most likely he's not going to play," Shaw said. "If it changes, I will tell you. But I wouldn't count on him playing right now."

Thomas said the young duo learned a lot from their first real extended playing time this season and added that if Howell can't go, Carrington and Richards will continue to step up.

"This will be the second week for them and even from practice (Monday), we're starting to communicate better," Thomas said. "That's going to be the key to this game. (USC) has a lot of different looks and motions so communicating will be the key."