LOS ANGELES -- USC receiver George Farmer continues to experience setbacks as he tries to seize the vacant No. 3 receiver job for the 2012 season.
This time, during the Trojans' first practice of fall camp on Monday, Farmer re-aggravated the same hamstring injury that's caused him problems since March. It didn't appear to be serious, but the initial injury didn't appear incredibly serious, either, and it forced him to miss the rest of the spring and some summertime.
It's starting to look like a bothersome trend for the sophomore wideout, who was expected to compete for a starting job a season ago and now could be faced with an uphill battle to win the No. 3 slot if he misses more than a few days.
"You can't start when you're sitting on the sides -- you gotta just get out there," said Robert Woods, USC's No. 1 receiver and Farmer's former teammate at Gardena Serra. "He's constantly banged up. He's just gotta get healthy. Health is his main issue right now.
"Once he takes care of his health, he should be making the plays that everyone expects him to make."
For the one full day of spring practice he did fully participate in this year, Farmer was named the MVP, so Woods' comments aren't far-fetched. But Farmer exited midway through the next one with the hamstring injury.
Monday, USC coach Lane Kiffin did not reveal anything about Farmer's status besides the fact that he left practice before finishing it. The Trojans are adopting a new injury-reporting policy this season, where Kiffin will no longer give injury reports after each practice session.
Marqise Lee, also Farmer's high school teammate and the Trojans' No. 2 receiver, said Farmer's been unlucky thus far in his USC career. But he also indicated that Farmer must seek out more treatment than he has in the past.
"We're gonna try to get George back out here and make sure he goes through treatment so he can do what he's supposed to do in order to play," Lee said. "Last year was a little bit of a struggle -- he had a lot of injuries -- but this year we're gonna make sure he gets through the injuries and gets to where he's supposed to be."
A year ago at this time, Farmer was expected to challenge for a starting spot across from Woods. But he took months to get going and Lee jumped right in and started the season opener.