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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- USC wide receiver Marqise Lee said he tweaked his already sprained left knee in the first half of USC's 14-10 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday and was held out of the second half by interim coach Ed Orgeron.
"Coach didn't want me to go back out there because he didn't want me to make it worse than it was," Lee said. "So he decided to hold me out."
Lee returned to the USC sideline in the second half in his warm-ups. He didn't need any crutches and wasn't walking with a noticeable limp after the game.
"I could've [played], yeah," Lee said. "I told him I was all right, but he refused."
Orgeron refused to comment on Lee's status after the game.
Lee, who had not played since severely spraining his left knee during a punt return in USC's game against Arizona State on Sept. 28, returned to practice this week. After practicing with the team on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Lee said he would play in Saturday's game, even though Orgeron listed him as questionable.
Lee had two catches for 18 yards in the first half and dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone before running into the USC band positioned in the back of the end zone.
"I caught the ball," Lee said. "I didn't get a good hold on it. It got on my leg."