USC could be at less than 100 percent on the defensive side of the ball when they take the Coliseum field against Texas this weekend.
Starting linebacker Porter Gustin underwent surgery this week to have two screws inserted into his big toe. Additionally, defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu is suffering from a sprained ligament in his knee in the win over Stanford.
Both players are doubtful to play against the Longhorns, the Los Angeles Times reports.
While Clay Helton alluded to JuJu Smith-Schuster undergoing a similar surgical procedure to Gustin’s two years ago, the latter’s may have been performed too late in the week to allow him to play in the non-conference matchup.
“It will be based on the doctors’ opinion and the pain of Porter and what he goes through and what he can take, whether he can play or not,” the head coach said according to the Times. “It’s day to day. Porter’s a tough kid. I don’t know if it’s too late for him to play in this game or not. I think he’ll definitely be ready for next week but he’ll be very close for this week, just being a realist.”
At bare minimum, Gustin, who led USC in tackles for loss last season, should be ready to go for the Pac-12 opener against Cal in Week 4.
Tuipulotu sustained his injury in what was his first career start. Unlike his teammate Gustin, the freshman is likely to be sidelined for a period of 1-3 weeks.