USC redshirt senior offensive lineman Zach Banner warmed up before the Arizona State game. After sustaining an ankle injury on the final play of the Utah game the week before, he had been limited in practice leading up to the game, but he was prepared to play.
But head coach Clay Helton called him into his office after warmups. He could see Banner wasn’t at 100 percent and he told Banner he wasn’t going to play.
“If it was any other head coach, he would have let me play because I was wanting to play Arizona State,” Banner said. “I tried. I begged him, especially Arizona State game.
“I wasn't questioning him. I wasn't going against him. I was just letting him know that it hurts not to play, but he was like, 'It's going to hurt even more if you're missing the weeks at the end of October and especially the games we have in November.’”
Banner was a full participant for the first half of practice Tuesday and looks like he should be available for the Trojans on Friday.
“Practiced today. It felt good. I wouldn't practice if it wasn't feeling good. That was the issue. I play a difficult position where you have to hit people. You have to drive people every play and when you're 340+ and have a bum ankle, it's hard. That was the thing. Coach Helton was protecting me.”
Helton said after Tuesday’s practice that Banner will start if he’s ready, but he also said he expects there to be a rotation.
“Any time that you have 2 1/2-3 weeks off there, there’s a conditioning factor there also that comes into play. I don’t know if he’s ready to play a full game,” Helton said. “We’re expecting to have to use Chuma [Edoga] and possibly Jordan [Simmons]. I would expect right now that we would be in rotation. We’ll see later in the week.”
Watch Zach Banner, above, talk about trying to return from his ankle injury this week, the team's mood and what he saw from Jordan Simmons and Chuma Edoga backing him up.
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