LOS ANGELES — USC outside linebacker Porter Gustin will miss the Trojans’ road opener at Cal on Saturday and is out indefinitely because of toe and biceps injuries.
Coach Clay Helton said on Thursday that no timetable had been established for a possible return.
“I think it’s gonna be a little time,” Helton said. “Two injuries and trying to heal both.”
In a win over Stanford earlier this month, Gustin fractured his right big toe. Two screws were surgically implanted the following week.
Despite what Helton described as a “big crack” in his toe, the junior was not sidelined and played last Saturday against Texas. He finished with two sacks on one drive in the second quarter, surging off the edge. But at halftime, X-rays revealed one of the screws in his toe had moved. Gustin did not return.
Helton on Thursday clarified for the first time that Gustin’s right biceps was torn, not strained as had been previously believed.
Neither injury requires surgery, but rehabilitation.
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Several of USC’s defensive starters were injured in the past two weeks, but most had returned to practice by Thursday.
Helton said defensive end Rasheem Green, who has a high ankle sprain, and nickel back Ajene Harris, who hyperextended his knee, returned. On Wednesday, outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, who has a sprained knee, was back, as was freshman defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu and inside linebacker John Houston.
Tuipulotu, who has a sprained knee, and Houston, who has a stinger in his neck, were out against Texas.
Gustin is left as the lone starter to be ruled out against Cal.
Against Stanford, Tuipulotu made his first career start when the Trojans lined up three defensive linemen.
“He’s moving really well,” Helton said. “He’s close.”
MAKE IT STICK
After a practice on Tuesday, most of USC’s receivers lingered for 40 minutes on the side of Howard Jones Field to catch footballs fired from a Jugs machine.
The Trojans were plagued by several dropped passes against Texas.
Was it as a response?
“Definitely,” junior receiver Deontay Burnett said. “We got to get better.”
Added Tee Martin, the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, “We got to get back to fundamentals and focus, really. That’s really all it comes down to. Trying to run with the ball before the catch, can’t do it. Gotta catch the ball first.”
STUFFED ON FOURTH
USC’s second drive against Texas ended at the 1-yard line.