USC's Cody Kessler has procedure for toe issue, expects to play Saturday

USC's Cody Kessler has procedure for toe issue, expects to play Saturday
USC quarterback Cody Kessler surveys the field as he comes to the line of scrimmage against Fresno State at the Coliseum. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

USC quarterback Cody Kessler will be playing catch-up this week as the No. 14 Trojans prepare for Saturday's Pac-12 Conference opener at No. 13 Stanford.

Kessler did not practice Tuesday after undergoing a procedure for an unspecified issue with one of his toes, but he will practice Wednesday and be available to play against the Cardinal, Coach Steve Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian and Kessler declined to say what precipitated the procedure, but a person with knowledge of the situation said the quarterback was treated for an infection. The source of the information requested anonymity they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the team or Kessler.

Kessler, who passed for four touchdowns and a career-best 394 yards in the Trojans' 52-13 victory over Fresno State on Saturday, was about an hour late for practice and did not participate in team drills. He did some light passing on the sideline and trotted to observe drills.


Kessler said he hurt his toe during the Fresno State game but directed further inquiries to Sarkisian.

"He had a deal with his toe that had been bothering him throughout the ballgame," Sarkisian said. "We felt like we wanted to take care of it sooner rather than later.

"This morning was the first chance we could to have a procedure done to get it, in our opinion, cleaned up.... It obviously didn't affect his play Saturday."

Redshirt freshman quarterback Max Browne, who played for the first time against Fresno State, took the first-team snaps during practice.

Asked whether he would be prepared if called upon to start against Stanford, Browne said he was ready.

"I feel like I know the game plan," he said. "I've been preparing since the day I got here."

Kessler was not the only starter hobbled Tuesday.

Defensive lineman Leonard Williams was sidelined toward the end of practice because of what appeared to be an ankle injury. The final minutes of practice were cut short after offensive lineman Damien Mama went to the turf grabbing his knee.

Of Williams, Sarkisian said, "We don't think it's serious." In regard to Mama, who walked off the field without assistance, Sarkisian added, "Damien got more scared than anything else…. All in all things can look real bad and then you come out not feeling as bad."

Tuesday's practice was the first geared exclusively toward Stanford. It was "a little choppy at times" because of the installation of the new game plan, Sarkisian said.

"I wouldn't say this was our best practice of the year," he said.

Solid start

In his first game since 2012, junior receiver George Farmer caught three passes for 20 yards against Fresno State.

Farmer was sidelined last season recovering from knee surgery.

"I felt great to be back out there, so I can't wait for this week," he said.

Farmer was among six receivers with three or more receptions.

Quick hits

Linebacker Lamar Dawson and offensive lineman Khaliel Rodgers, who are recovering from knee injuries, participated in drills.


Running back Tre Madden (toe) attended practice but did not participate.