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Trojans Practice Without Wright

Times Staff Writer

USC returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since the weekend arrest of cornerback Eric Wright, who remains suspended from workouts pending the outcome of university and police investigations.

Wright, 19, was arrested and booked Saturday on suspicion of raping a female USC student. He is free on bail and scheduled to appear in court on April 20.

Capt. Al Michelena, head of the Los Angeles Police Dept.'s Robbery-Homicide Division, said the investigation is continuing and that detectives are awaiting lab results. According to law enforcement sources, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office was scheduled to interview the alleged victim Tuesday.

USC Coach Pete Carroll said no players had been interviewed by police. He also said that Michael Jackson, USC’s vice president of Student Affairs, had not updated him on the university’s investigation of the incident, which allegedly took place at the Cardinal Gardens apartment complex near campus.

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With Wright suspended, senior Justin Wyatt coming back from hernia surgery and senior John Walker sidelined after wrist surgery, redshirt sophomore Terrell Thomas was the only scholarship cornerback who practiced Tuesday.

Thomas said he had spoken with Wright, a redshirt sophomore who started the final four games last season.

Thomas said Wright told him, “Just keep praying for me man. I’ll be all right. This is one of those situations that we’ve got to get through.”

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Running back Desmond Reed, Wright’s roommate, practiced for the first time after sitting out the first three workouts to focus on academics.

“He’s made tremendous progress in the last couple weeks so he’s earned his way back out,” Carroll said.

Reed declined to speak to reporters after practice.

Carroll said receiver Whitney Lewis and linebacker Ryan Powdrell were absent to concentrate on academics.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.


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