Monday Practice Report

USC running back Stafon Johnson was injured while lifting weights in the USC weight room on Monday and had to be taken the hospital, where he was still in surgery as of 9 p.m. PST. Look inside for more on Johnson as well as all the news, notes and quotes from Monday's practice.

USC running back Stafon Johnson was injured while lifting weights in the USC weight room on Monday and had to be taken the hospital, where he was still in surgery as of 9 p.m. PST.

"What I can tell you is that Stafon had an accident in the weight room and a bar came down on his neck. It was at the end of the routine he was doing and unfortunately it hit him wrong," Pete Carroll said. "We rushed him to the hospital to make sure that he's ok."

Johnson was bench-pressing with an assistant strength and conditioning coach spotting him when the bar slipped out of Johnson's right hand and landed on his throat.

Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, who was in the weight room at the time of the accident, said he has never witnessed such an accident, "I've seen players have the bar slip and fall onto their chest, but never in my 25 years of coaching have I heard of someone dropping a bar on their throat. We're fortunate he was being spotted."

Carroll added: "I've never seen the guy take the whole thing like that and get hit in the neck."

Several of Johnson's teammates were in the weight room at the time of the accident.

"There was a bunch of guys in the weight room because it was a regular workout, so they jumped to make sure he was ok right off the bat," Carroll said. "One of our strength coaches was right there with him, doing the drill with him. He was cared for immediately. It was scary."

Carroll said that Johnson was unable to speak when he was taken to the hospital and was still in surgery when the Trojans took the field for their afternoon practice.

"They are working on him now and, when we went to practice, he was in surgery to make sure he's ok and to check everything out. But it is serious and he did get hurt but we don't know exactly what it is and we're not going to know until they go through the surgery."

While Carroll classified the injury as serious he said it wasn't life threatening.

As expected, Johnson's teammates were shaken up by the news.

"This is a guy that has been an integral part of our program for years, and everybody loves Stafon, and takes it personally. When you are as connected as we are we feel every bit of this. Everybody feels it, that's how close we are," Carroll said. "We all feel a bit damaged today and injured. That's just a part of how connected we are through all this work and dedication to the team. It's a bad deal and I feel horrible for him."

The senior tailback from Compton has rushed for 157 yards on 32 carries in 2009 and is the team leader with 5 touchdowns.

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- Luthur Brown, Jordan Campbell, Marshall Jones, Malcolm Smith, Marc Tyler and Nick Garratt were among the players that didn't participate in Monday's practice.

- Jordan Campbell wore a boot and was in crutches during practice.

"He's got a substantial ankle sprain, so it's going to be a bit," Carroll said. "He's not moving very well at all right now."

With Malcolm Smith and Jordan Campbell both sidelined, Shane Horton took the reps with the first-team defense on Monday.

"He's learning the position and he's still a young guy at the spot. He's a little bit hesitant at times but he's a really good athlete. He needs to get comfortable with the spot and that is just going to take some time. We may not have any more time than this week but the added reps will help him."

While still inexperienced, Carroll said Horton has shown potential at linebacker.

"He had probably the best hit of the game, stepping up in the hole on a lead play," he said. "He's an active guy on coverage too."

- Cornerback Brian Baucham, who was in a motorcycle accident earlier this month, was at practice and did some light work on the side.

- Carroll said he gathered the players together before practice to let them know the news of Stafon Johnson's injury.

"Certainly I did today just to make sure that everybody knew what happened and all," he said. "There was a number of guys in the weight room at time so guys were there to help him. We just made sure to make mention of it and tell them what we knew."

- Carroll said that they are going to manage Matt Barkley's throws early in the week to make sure that he doesn't over work the shoulder, but reported that Barkley's shoulder is feeling much better than last week.

"I asked him compared to last Monday, and he said it's not even close," Carroll said. "He feels so much better than he was a week ago at this time. He's well ahead of where he was last week."

- With the injuries to Marshall Jones and Brian Baucham, freshman cornerback Byron Moore could see playing time in the next few weeks.

"We've talked about Byron (Moore) getting ready to go and see if he can help us out. We elevated him today to get him ready for backup duty and special-teams work," Carroll said. "This is the kind of thing, when you talk about redshirts, this is why you don't tell guys that they're redshirted. You work through the process and see what's going on and then you make a decision when the time comes. He's ready and excited to help us.

- After watching film of USC's 27-6 victory over Washington State, Carroll singled out Jacob Harfman, Mike Morgan and Nick Perry as players that stood out.

"Jake played a great game for us. I was really happy for him in his first game punting and kicking. His best day. His kicks were inside the 10, and he had the onside kick he executed perfectly. Mikey Morgan played really well for us. Our linebackers played well, but Mike really had a big game. He had 2.5 sacks and a couple of key tackles in the backfield. He played a very good football game for us.

"Nick Perry was real productive. That's what I like to see. The front seven, to have 14 plays in the backfield, that's a big day for them. That's a collective, group effort to get that done. They played really well."


Shane Horton worked with the first-team defense on Monday.


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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com



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