Woods, Grimble hampered by injuries

LOS ANGELES -- USC head coach Lane Kiffin has said that one of the benefits to having spring break right now is the opportunity for injured players to get healthy before the Trojans return to action next week.

The Trojans don't have too many injury issues, but there are enough injured bodies on the roster that certain positions will look to be impacted for the remainder of the spring ball session. Here is a look at some of those injuries and a status report for the players involved:

QB Jesse Scroggins: A hip injury has kept Scoggins on the sideline so far this spring, as he battles academic issues as well. There is a heated battle going on between Max Wittek and Cody Kessler for the backup spot to Matt Barkley, and the longer Scroggins is out, the more he falls behind the other two.

RB Buck Allen: A hamstring issue is the problem for Buck, as the coaches are still waiting to see what kind of player he is. Is he a power back? What kind of speed does he really have? These questions and more are waiting to be answered, but that won't happen until Allen gets back on the field. With only two other scholarship tailbacks on the roster, the team could use his help.

WR Robert Woods: Woods continues to be hampered by the lingering ankle injury that originally was suffered last spring in a pick-up basketball game. It was thought he would be ready for spring, but he had a setback and has not done anything more than basic warm-up drills so far. It's not like Woods needs to prove anything in terms of his playing ability, but at some point it would be nice for the ankle issue to be in his rear view mirror.

WR George Farmer: For the first day and a half of spring it looked like Farmer was ready to start fulfilling the promise that has followed him for so long. A hamstring injury hit him on the second day, however, and he likely will miss some time next week, as well. Farmer showed enough early on that he isn't going to lose his place in line for the No. 3 receiver battle.

TE Xavier Grimble: A toe injury hit Grimble on the opening day of spring practice, and he hasn't been on the field since. The coaches know what they have in Grimble, and they aren't going to rush him back in these early stages of spring.

TE Junior Pomee: This could be a critical time for Pomee, and he should be back on the field next Tuesday after missing some time during the first week. With Grimble and Christian Thomas out of action, Pomee could have a real opportunity to make an impression now, because the tight end practice reps probably aren't going to be as plentiful in the fall.

TE Christian Thomas: He will miss all of spring as he continues to rehab from hip surgery last fall. Thomas is a very talented player who could play a big role within the tight end group, but he will have to wait until fall for that to happen.

OL Chad Wheeler: The early enrollee offensive tackle really could have benefited from the extra reps that would have been there for him in spring, but a shoulder injury suffered in his high school season will keep him out of action for spring. His absence hurts the depth at the tackle spot, too, as there is only one reserve tackle available right now.

DL Christian Heyward: There might not be another player in this group who is hurt more by not being on the field this spring. Heyward had an opportunity to lock down a back-up spot to George Uko at defensive tackle, but since Heyward is not available due to recent shoulder surgery, the coaches moved Greg Townsend inside to see how he fits at the spot. Chances are Heyward still will play a major role in the rotation by the time fall rolls around, but some of that playing time could end up going to Townsend as well.

DL DeVante Wilson: Wilson is sidelined as he continues to recover from knee surgery last fall, but he really stands out now on the sidelines due to his offseason growth. The once-skinny high school player is now 6-foot-5.5, 235 pounds, and by the time fall camp rolls around he could be a real surprise in the USC line-up.

DB Torin Harris: Harris will miss all spring recovering from shoulder surgery and Lane Kiffin is excited to get him back. Kiffin has made multiple mentions about how much better the secondary will look once Harris returns, and that is saying a lot, because it already looks pretty good this spring.

DB Joshua Shaw: It's unclear yet if Shaw will be eligible this year, but it sure would be nice to see the Florida transfer on the field to know what the Trojans are getting. Shaw has good size and looked solid in winter workouts, but he hasn't been out there yet this spring. It also remains unclear if he will play safety or corner.

P Kyle Negrete: A shoulder injury will keep Negrete from full-contact work, but he is still able to take part in daily kicking drills, and that should be enough to insure that he stays fresh in the spring. It also gives Kris Albarado a chance to get some extended work in scrimmage situations.

The Trojans will return to the practice field on March 20.