Sophomore receiver Robert Woods sprained his ankle Friday playing pick-up basketball and sat out of Saturday's Spring Game at the Coliseum, forcing the Trojans to use walk-on and backup receivers more than they envisioned in the spring finale.
Woods had been the star for much of spring practice for the last month, save for the two sessions he missed while nursing a sore hamstring. In his absence, tight end Xavier Grimble led all pass-catchers with eight catches for 73 yards and Markeith Ambles added six catches for 76 yards.
"So we now have a new no-basketball policy the day before the spring game," Trojans coach Lane Kiffin joked after the game, which the defense won, 42-29. "It’s nothing serious. He warmed up but couldn’t go. And really maybe a good thing that it happened. A guy like that, you’d hate for him to get hurt today, something serious.
"He would not have played very much anyway today."
Woods played a whole lot every day he was healthy during the spring, so Kiffin's assertion that he wouldn't have played much during the Spring Game sounded a bit odd. Regardless, the 6-1, 185-pound receiver should be healthy in a matter of days and probably won't see this injury have any sort of long-term effect.
It had quite the effect on quarterback Matt Barkley's performance Saturday, though. Barkley completed just 22 of 42 pass attempts -- 52 percent -- for 212 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions. A number of near-completions were dropped by the rag-tag bunch of receivers that took Woods' place in the formations.
"I don’t think it threw me off," Barkley said of not having Woods available. "But, obviously, he would have added a lot more yards, I think, to the offense today, just with some of the dropped balls we had and some of the concepts we have. But you gotta deal with what we have and that’s what we’ve been dealing with for the past year.
"I can’t wait to have him and Kyle [Prater] and George [Farmer] and Brandon [Carswell], who was out – I can’t wait to have all those guys back."