Rec­tor (bro­ken hand) is a game-time de­ci­sion

Los Angeles Times - - COLEGE FOOTBALL - By Zach Helfand zach.helfand@la­times.com Twit­ter: @zhelfand

Out­side line­backer Chris­tian Rec­tor prac­ticed Thurs­day with his bro­ken hand in a pro­tec­tive wrap­ping, and he will be a ga­me­time de­ci­sion to play against Colorado, USC coach Clay Hel­ton said.

Rec­tor’s re­turn would in­ject even more dis­rup­tive abil­ity into a pass rush that has al­ready gen­er­ated the most to­tal sacks in the na­tion (34) and ranks sev­enth in sacks per game. Rec­tor be­gan the sea­son on the bench but surged to the lead in the Pac-12 Con­fer­ence in sacks in just five starts. He ranks sec­ond, with 6.5, be­hind USC de­fen­sive end Rasheem Green.

“The hand is cleared by the doc­tors,” Hel­ton said. “It’s just from a pain stand­point. He’s not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any pain right now, so ba­si­cally we’re go­ing to take to­mor­row and the next day, warm him up on Satur­day and make a de­ci­sion from there, and see how he’s feeling about it. He wants to go.”

Rec­tor has missed the last two games af­ter break­ing his hand dur­ing prac­tice. Hel­ton said Rec­tor con­tin­ued to do con­di­tion­ing work while in­jured. Rec­tor would not be on a spe­cific snap count, Hel­ton said.

“He’s trend­ing in a very pos­i­tive di­rec­tion,” Hel­ton said. “He got re­ally good work this week and to­day ac­tu­ally prac­ticed and looked good with the club. We just wanted to see how he could func­tion with that.”

Rec­tor has never played with such an im­ple­ment , but it’s not un­com­mon. An Ari­zona de­fen­sive line­man played that way against USC last week. And right tackle Chuma Edoga did the same ear­lier in the sea­son.

Jor­dan Iosefa filled in for Rec­tor last week and had eight tack­les, one sack and a forced fum­ble.

If Rec­tor can­not go this week, Hel­ton said, “it would be for sure next week.”

Line im­proves

USC’s of­fen­sive line was man­han­dled by Notre Dame’s front seven, the Tro­jans man­ag­ing just 76 yards rush­ing. Since then, USC had 341 yards rush­ing yards against Ari­zona State and 331 against Ari­zona, the team’s two high­est to­tals all sea­son.

Why such a dra­matic swing?

USC be­lieves it has set­tled on the right for­mula on the line and has fi­nally found some sta­bil­ity.

“I feel like we’re fi­nally get­ting a so­lid­i­fied five guys,” cen­ter Nico Falah said. “We’re fi­nally get­ting five guys for a con­sis­tent two weeks, and it’s show­ing on the field. We’re re­ally com­mu­ni­cat­ing and play­ing to­gether.”

Marshall may play

Corner­back Iman Marshall, who has missed two games with a sprained knee, could see ac­tion “in a lim­ited role” Satur­day, Hel­ton said.

Isa­iah Lan­g­ley has played in Marshall’s ab­sence.

Marshall has been a lim­ited par­tic­i­pant in prac­tice, work­ing with the sec­ondteam de­fense. “He’s start­ing to look like his old self,” Hel­ton said. “I think if needed I think he could go out there and help us.”

Quick hits

Line­backer Uchenna Nwosu (an­kle) prac­ticed Thurs­day for the first time this week and “looked good,” Hel­ton said. … Left tackle Toa Loben­dahn (knee sore­ness) did lim­ited work, and Hel­ton ex­pects him to play Satur­day. … Hel­ton also ex­pects tight end Tyler Petite (shoul­der sprain) to play . ... Prac­tice was cut sev­eral min­utes short be­cause of a brief power out­age on campus. Power was quickly re­stored, but the lights at USC’s prac­tice field take time to warm up, and the Tro­jans ran out of day­light.

Allen J. Sch­aben Los Angeles Times

CHRIS­TIAN REC­TOR, top, watch­ing USC’s Rasheem Green sack Ore­gon State’s Darell Gar­ret­son, could play with a pro­tec­tive wrap­ping on his hand.

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