Injures have been a major concern for USC during the past several years when scholarships were limited by NCAA sanctions. Trojan nose tackle Antwaun Woods, a key member of the defensive line, missed some time this fall with an elbow injury.
“We were working combo drills with the offensive line and I was in a double team,” Woods explained when asked about how he injured his elbow. “My arm was locked out and the offensive lineman happened to push my elbow and it hyperextended pretty bad. Right away I knew. That’s why I fell to the ground. I think if I didn’t jump out as fast as I did, it probably would have been worse. As soon as it happened, I jumped out of the way so it wouldn’t be too bad.”
Early indications were that it would not be that serious of an injury and Woods wanted to ensure it wouldn’t keep him out for long.
“I was rehabbing every day,” Woods told reporters. “Two to three times a day and just strengthening it and icing it. Making sure it got better every day.”
Ensuring the injury stays away is another key part of the rehab process, even if that means wearing a protective brace, much to the dismay of Woods.
“Very frustrating and not comfortable, but safety is first,” Woods said when asked about wearing the brace.
He went on to explain that there’s no way he would wear it in a game. In fact, he wouldn’t wear anything at all.
Now that he’s past the struggle of getting back on to the field, Woods is ready to move on from the injury and get down to business. He only saw positives after returning to Howard Jones Field and getting back in the action.
“I has gone well,” Woods said. “No pain, no discomfort. Just getting ready to get back to 100 percent. I think we’re coming along well. We’re coming together as a team defense. Getting better each day. We’re not getting complacent. We’re accountable to each other to get better each day.”
Woods says he can go full speed right now without worrying about his elbow, but he says it’s still at 99% and he doesn’t feel restricted at all. As August 30 fast approaches, Woods knows for sure whether he’ll be playing against Fresno State or not.
“I’ll be great,” Woods said. “100 percent. Ready to roll.”
Marshall Cherrington will be attending USC and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism beginning in January of 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @MWCherrington.