With intensity comes injury. With 11 highly competitive spring practices down, the number of players dealing with bumps and bruises has gone up.
Wide receiver Ronald Johnson is done for the spring, offensive tackle Matt Kalil needed fluid drained from his knee, defensive end Armond Armstead was injured Thursday, joining a long list of players already hurt.
Ironically, the ailments afflicting Johnson are relatively minor, to the point that the senior said he could have still participated in the final four sessions.
Johnson is likely to undergo minor surgery to clean out his right wrist, a procedure comparable to what quarterback Matt Barkley had done after last season.
"It's basically the same thing Barkley had," Johnson said. "He even told me who to go to, when to get it done and get it done as soon as possible because he missed me out there.
"It's just playing it safe. Just trying to get it cleaned out."
USC Coach Lane Kiffin was unconcerned about shutting Johnson down.
"He was really the star of camp offensively, so I feel really good where he is at," Kiffin said. "If there was somebody who would be the most ready to play of our offensive players, he would be it."
With Johnson held out and Kyle Prater (back), Devon Flournoy (hamstring) and Brandon Carswell (hamstring) sidelined, USC worked with only three scholarship receivers, moving David Ausberry over from tight end.
"We didn't have a choice today," Kiffin said. "We were at three receivers. David is actually one of the more experienced skill players here."
Redshirt sophomore Brice Butler is now working as the de-facto top receiver.
"Everybody is out right now," he said. "Everybody is banged up. It doesn't change my approach at all.
"My mindset out there every day is that I am number one regardless of what it looks like."
Butler also understands the physical adjustments Prater is making.
"Kyle, the young buck, his body is not used to it yet. I was the same way when I first got here. I probably didn't practice a full week my redshirt year," Butler said.
Despite sitting out practice, Kalil said his swollen right knee felt better than it did Tuesday, when he was a full participant.
"I just had a whole bunch of fluid in my knee that they drained out," he said "They just want it to get a day of rest because if it gets hit right away, it will blow back up. I'll be good to go Saturday."
With the first round of the NFL Draft moving to primetime Thursday, Kalil remembered what it was like when his older brother, former USC center Ryan, was selected 59th overall in 2007.
"It was a sweet experience, waiting around the house for him to get picked. When he finally got that phone call from the Carolina Panthers, everyone was cheering. It's definitely an interesting process, definitely stressful," Matt said.
-Kiffin praised the handful of offensive linemen still available.
"It's going to pay off for those guys who are still out there," he said. "It's going to pay off down the road. I can't imagine anyone in the country working harder than they are."
There hasn't been any thought about limiting their workload, Kiffin said, until there are only four available linemen.
"If we were in the end of the fall or closer to the season," he said. "We're not concerned with that. If they're completely exhausted in the spring, they got a long time to recover."
-Running back Curtis McNeal was limited by back spasms.
-Linebacker Ross Cumming and safety Byron Moore posted interceptions in 7-on-7s.
-Safety T.J. McDonald crushed tight end Blake Ayles near the end of practice, sending the defensive sideline into hysterics.
USC OL Matt Kalil remembered when his brother, Ryan, was selected in 2007 draft.
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