USC's DeWayne Dedmon breaks hand

LOS ANGELES -- University of Southern California 7-foot forward DeWayne Dedmon broke his right hand in practice and is expected to be out four to six weeks, Trojans coach Kevin O'Neill said Wednesday.

He suffered the fracture to his right index finger in a team workout Tuesday.

Dedmon, a sophomore transfer from Antelope Valley College, was expected to start in the frontcourt for the Trojans alongside Iowa transfer Aaron Fuller and sophomore Garrett Jackson. O'Neill had hyped Dedmon up quite a bit over the offseason, predicting that he'd average a double-double in his first year with the Trojans.

O'Neill said Wednesday there was a possibility Dedmon could continue to practice with the injury and play in games with a cast or brace on his hand, as then-senior Alex Stepheson did for roughly six weeks at the start of last season.

If Dedmon doesn't do that and takes four weeks to recover, he'd be roughly on pace to return to the court for USC's first game of the 2011-2012 season against Cal State Northridge on Nov. 11. Six weeks would force him to miss the team's first six or seven games -- all nonconference matchups.

Dedmon's injury is the second of the offseason to a projected starter for USC. Senior guard Jio Fontan tore his ACL during the team's exhibition trip to Brazil in August and will be out for the season.

The Trojans start official practices on Friday in advance of the Nov. 11 opener.

Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.