The surgery will keep the senior starter out at least three months and could be season-ending. If it is, Kennard says he could declare for the NFL draft or redshirt and come back as a fifth-year player for the Trojans in 2013.
"My mindset is definitely going to be to try to come back this year," Kennard said. "But I'm not going to hurt myself or the team in the process."
Kennard originally suffered the injury while bench-pressing 405 pounds in USC's Heritage Hall weight room Thursday. He said it wasn't an issue of lifting too much weight but simply a freak accident that occurred on the fourth rep of his fourth set during routine workouts.
Kennard, 21, started 18 games during his first three years at USC and was expected to be the second-most experienced player on the Trojans' defensive line this fall. Now, USC must find a replacement from a group that includes freshman Leonard Williams, junior-college transfer Morgan Breslin and redshirt junior Kevin Greene.
Kennard already has undergone three surgeries in the last four years. He had to repair a torn ACL during his senior year of high school, then had surgery on his thumb after his freshman season and on his hip after his sophomore season.
He doesn't expect this upcoming recovery to be worse than the others.
"it's not an uncommon deal," Kennard said. "It's just unlucky that it happened to me and unfortunate that it happened to me now."