USC linebacker Chris Galippo will be available for the first time this season when the Trojans face Oregon this Saturday at the Coliseum, and he could see significant playing time depending on the status of starting middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, who suffered a sprained knee against Oregon State.
"I got the green light to play against Oregon," Galippo said with a big smile on his face. "I have been waiting about thirteen weeks now for this."
Galippo's return comes just as Rey Maualuga's status for this Saturday's matchup against Oregon is still up in the air.
Maualuga had an MRI on Monday but the results weren't yet available.
After practice on Monday, Pete Carroll said Brian Cushing or Chris Galippo could start at middle linebacker if Maualuga doesn't play.
"The first thought is Cush goes there because he has been preparing to do that but I want to see how Galippo looks," Carroll explained.
Even if Galippo doesn't start he should have a major role on Saturday.
"If that's the case then just bring it on," Galippo said when asked about the possibility of getting significant playing time. "Luckily, the training staff and the strength and conditioning staff have done an awesome job keeping me up to the tempo that I need.
"I have been waiting thirteen weeks and now all of the sudden I am thrown in right away. It's going to be a challenge but it's fun."
Matthews to Start
Linebacker/defensive end Clay Matthews has been one of the most productive players on the USC defense this season, recording 17 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries in three games.
As a result of Matthews solid play he will start against Oregon this Saturday, but at what position remains to be determined.
"He's had three terrific games and he deserves to get more playing time," Carroll said of Matthews. "He has just been too effective to keep him on the sidelines so we are going to find a way to keep him out there more."
When asked at what position Matthews will get the start, Pete Carroll replied, "He's going to start this week. I didn't say where but he is going to start this week."
Linebacker Brian Cushing was wearing a cast on his hand today after breaking a bone during the Trojans 27-21 loss against Oregon State.
Cushing participated in practice today and won't miss any time because of the injury.
Rey Maualuga suited up for practice but didn't participate in drills after suffering a sprained knee late in the Trojans loss to Oregon State.
Maualuga underwent an MRI on Monday but Pete Carroll didn't know the results and said he is day-to-day.
"They weren't willing to test him today at all running," Pete Carroll said. "They want to wait and see how it responds and all that."
Zack Heberer was sidelined today after suffering a sprained toe and Pete Carroll didn't seem too optimistic about Heberer being able to play against Oregon.
"He looks like he is going to be awhile," Carroll said of Heberer, "He has a pretty serious sprained toe and he is still in the boot."
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