LOS ANGELES -- It was a rasp that the audience strained to hear, but it sure sounded good.
Said USC running back Stafon Johnson: "God has a plan. Run Stafon, run."
Johnson, who suffered a severe throat and neck injury in a weight room accident on Sept. 28, speaking publicly for the first time, used the last words his grandfather spoke to him to reassure Trojans fans that his recovery is going well.
Really well, in fact.
"We wouldn't expect him to be at this point, this early," said Jason Hamilton, one of Johnson's doctors.
Johnson has regained some speech, though it's limited. He can swallow and eat solid foods.
He's still physically limited. He can't run or work out and playing football again is not front-and-center at this point.
But there's hope that he may fully recover. Asked when Johnson's activity might not be limited, Dr. Ryan Osborne said, "[in] the very near future."
While being away from his team and teammates -- and not being able to talk to his son -- have been a struggle for Johnson, he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
When asked if he'd watched the Trojans' 47-20 loss to Oregon, he shook his head and buried his face in his hands.
Everyone in the room laughed.