Optimism Remains, but Kennard Could Be Out

Practice for the 2012 season officially starts in just over a week for the Trojans, but they could already be without their senior defensive end.

It's as though USC head coach Lane Kiffin barely finished his sentence from Pac-12 Media Day about his concern over the lack of depth on his defensive line before reports surfaced Thursday evening that senior defensive end Devon Kennard suffered a possible season ending injury due to a reported tear in his pectoral muscle.

The injury came during a routine offseason weightlifting session.

"I was in the weight room, I didn't see it," said junior receiver Robert Woods. "[I heard] just after the fact, DK left to get an MRI and that's about it."

"I told him that we are all going to be praying for you," said redshirt senior defensive end Wes Horton. "We're hoping for the best, but I think he'll be okay."

Kennard was briefly seen Friday morning in a sling as the Trojans' voluntary throwing session began, however he did not speak to the media.

His Twitter account confirms reports of the injury, but the extent remains unknown.

"Appreciate all the love and prayers," Kennard tweeted late Thursday night, "don't worry about me too much, I was born to #FightOn after all."

He took to his Twitter account Friday morning to thank fans showing their support.

The uncertainty surrounding Kennard's status can only heighten the concern Kiffin already has over the depth on the defensive line.

True freshman Leonard Williams and redshirt freshman Greg Townsend, Jr. look to be the two players who will be called upon to fill any void left by Kennard.

"It's going to be a huge challenge," said Horton on Friday morning after workouts. "But I think between the older guys constantly on Greg [Townsend Jr.] or Leonard [Williams], whoever may step into that spot, we're definitely fortunate to have a coach like Ed Orgeron to come in and groom them."

"We've had all of June and all of July to work with [Williams]," Horton explained. "He's a very quick learner, so him and Greg both are making huge strides, but they don't have the experience."

The injury to Kennard comes at a time when he was beginning to turn corners at defensive end, according to his teammates.

When asked Tuesday who one of the biggest difference makers on defense would be this season, senior safety T.J. McDonald did not hesitate to say it would be Kennard.

Horton echoed the same sentiment Friday morning.

"[This is] probably the best I've seen him play since being back at defensive end," Horton said. "Coming out of spring, his pass rush moves, he kind of took it to the next level, his work ethic is probably one of the best on the team."

The injury to Kennard is the latest in string of injuries dating back to his senior year of high school when he had surgery to repair his ACL.

After his freshman season at USC he had thumb surgery, followed by hip surgery after his sophomore season.

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