When it comes to the availability of one of USC’s most explosive playmakers, the phrase “pain tolerance” could be the operative one in the coming days.
While throwing a block in last Saturday’s win over Cal, JuJu Smith-Schuster sustained what was later determined to be a broken bone in his right hand. At the time it was uncertain whether the star wide receiver would be forced to undergo surgery to repair the damage; Monday, that uncertainty was erased as Smith-Schuster underwent a medical procedure on the fourth metacarpal bone in the hand.
A plate and screw were inserted into the hand to help speed the healing process. As it stands right now, Smith-Schuster hasn’t officially been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Arizona.
“It’s really a pain-tolerance thing,” interim head coach Clay Helton said. “You’re talking about one of the toughest kids in my 21 years of experience that I’ve ever been around. He’s an absolute warrior, and I know he’ll be back as soon as he can.”
That said, the football program is already unofficially looking toward Week 11 for a likely return.
Said Helton following his after-practice confirmation of the surgery, “If we don’t have him this week, the prognosis is, hopefully, next week.”
Smith-Schuster is far and away the Trojans’ leading receiver, with his 52 receptions and 956 receiving yards easily tops on the team. The next closest is Stephen Mitchell‘s 17 catches and Adoree Jackson‘s 316 yards.
The sophomore leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards and is second to Colorado’s Nelson Spruce (62) in receptions.