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USC dealing with major defensive injuries ahead of Arizona game

usc-trojans-injuries-griffin-johnson-taylor-stuart-gaoteote-helton-sumlin-arizona-wildcats-pac-12 Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Sumlin does not comment on injuries, other than to refer to a player as “nicked up.” The same can’t be said for USC coach Clay Helton, who in addition to keeping portions of practice open during the regular season also provides injury updates during the week.

And there appear to be a lot of those for the Trojans ahead of Saturday’s visit from Arizona.

USC (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) could be without four defensive starters—three in the secondary—when it hosts the Wildcats (4-2, 2-1) in a battle of South Division co-leaders, with at least one (sophomore cornerback Greg Johnson) already ruled out:

Sophomore linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV is USC’s third-leading tackler, with 47, while Johnson has 22 along with an interception. Sophomore cornerback Olaijah Griffin leads the Trojans with six pass breakups, while freshman CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart has 19 tackles.

That quartet has combined for 20 starts, with Gaoteote starting all six games at weak-side linebacker.