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USC's Bennie Boatwright to miss six weeks with sprained knee

USC's Bennie Boatwright to miss six weeks with sprained knee
USC forward Bennie Boatwright, center, battles for rebound positioning with UC Santa Barbara forward Alex Hart (12) on Nov. 27. (Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

A few minutes after USC forward Bennie Boatwright injured his left knee against San Diego on Wednesday evening, he tried to lift himself off the trainer’s table. He sat up, then gingerly tried to stand upright.

When his left leg reached the floor, he recoiled, and quickly lay back down. The injury was severe enough that Coach Andy Enfield said after the game that his only hope was that Boatwright would miss weeks, not the entire season.

So Thursday brought good news. Boatwright was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament. He will not require surgery.

In a statement, USC said it expects Boatwright to miss about six weeks.

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That timeline would mean he would miss at least the first four games of Pac-12 play, when USC plays Oregon State, Oregon, Stanford and California.

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Meanwhile, USC will have to adjust in his absence. Boatwright, who scored 17 and 21 points in his last two full games, was expected to be USC's leading scorer. He missed the season's first two games after he sustained a hip injury during the off-season. USC struggled offensively in his absence.

"He provides something that we don't have without him," Enfield said Wednesday. "He's a unique player with his size and his guard skills."

Twitter: @zhelfand

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