Trojans coach Clay Helton said Tuesday night that the redshirt sophomore, who was expected to be one of USC’s top offensive players this season, will be “shut down” until his injury, which forced him to miss last week’s 42-24 win over Stanford, has completely healed.
As for how long that will take, Helton isn’t sure.
“I really don’t have a crystal ball with this one,” Helton said. “It’s a strange injury … he’s so skilled and has to change direction, both blocking and running routes. It just doesn’t feel right, so we finally just decided to make the assessment to shut him down until he’s 100 percent.
“He’s going to rehab, whether that takes one, two weeks, four weeks, a season, I don’t know.”
Helton said that Imatorbhebhe has undergone an MRI “several times” and doctors have concluded that his injury is a muscle strain and not a tear. However, it just isn’t healing, so, at this point, rest appears to be the best option.
“I know that we have great doctors and great physicians that will get him back as soon as we can,” Helton said.
“It’s like having a bad hamstring. It hasn’t gotten healthy, yet. We’ve pushed and tried to get it there, but now it’s time to get it 100 percent [healed].”
Imatorbhebhe played in USC’s opening win over Western Michigan, but caught just one pass for 12 yards. Imatorbhebhe enjoyed a solid redshirt freshman season, playing in all 13 of USC’s games (starting five) and catching 17 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns.
Helton also held out starting outside linebacker Porter Gustin on Tuesday because of shoulder and toe injuries. Helton said Gustin, who has undergone an MRI on his shoulder, was injured in the Stanford game, but played through it. Helton listed Gustin as “day-to-day” and said the linebacker will be re-evaluated before USC hosts Texas on Saturday.
Gustin has 11 tackles and one sack on the season.
Offensive tackle Chuma Edoga (wrist) and linebacker John Houston (stinger) were also held out of Tuesday’s practice, and will be further evaluated throughout the week, as well.
Fourth-ranked USC (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) hosts Texas (1-1) Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on Fox.