Tape It Up: USC: That Old Familiar Feeling

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USC: That Old Familiar Feeling

Remember earlier this season, when USC was picked to be the greatest team ever to hit the collegiate football landscape, but then the Trojans were hit with a plague of injuries that decimated the team leading up to their season-crushing loss to Stanford? Remember all that? Well, it looks like despite the fact that the Trojans will be representing the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl once again, the injury bug is back and attacking with a vengeance. The latest victim is junior linebacker Brian Cushing, who suffered a bone bruise in practice last week.

Cushing knocked knees with receiver Brandon Carswell in practice on Friday, sending him to the turf in a heap before limping over to a trainer's table. He spent the rest of the practice sitting with his knee wrapped in ice. The junior most likely suffered a bone bruise, but don't expect that to keep him out of the Granddaddy of them All.

"I thought the worst when it happened," Cushing said after practice on Friday. "I mean, it hurt like hell. I'm sure it's going to be sore, but I'll play in the game. There's no doubt."

And when Cushing says he'll play, he means it. After all, a year ago, Cushing spent most of the bowl week preparations on the sideline nursing a knee injury, but came back well enough to be selected defensive player of the game for this efforts.

Of course, this is not the first time Cushing has been hurt this season. The arthroscopic surgery he had on his left knee after spring practice had nothing to do with the ankle sprain he suffered in the season opener, but that sprain certainly was the reason for the fracture he sustained in the game against Washington State. The fracture sidelined him for the next three games, but he got back into uniform in time for the Trojans' late-season push.

And as per usual, we wouldn't be talking about USC if Cushing was the only injured player on the roster. Senior tailback Chauncey Washington is still sitting out of practices with a hip injury, so sophomore Stafon Johnson is getting extra reps with the first team. He is looking to get his own form back after suffering a foot injury in late September that never really went away.

Washington postponed an MRI exam in favor of returning to practice in time for final Rose Bowl preparations, so the Trojans are hoping he will be back up to speed, as well.

Also on the banged-up list is receiver Patrick Turner, who has a bruised quadriceps that may keep him out of the bowl game entirely.

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