Johnson gets clearance for return to the court

It has been so long since USC forward Marcus Johnson has played in the game, he can’t even remember who it was against.

Johnson paused, and laughed Friday, hours after being cleared academically to play against Oral Roberts on Sunday. “Uh, it was over a year ago,” Johnson said. “Wait . . . no, I can’t remember.”

The lengthy time away will only push Johnson more, as he prepares for his first game since playing for Connecticut in an exhibition game against Assumption on Nov. 1, 2007. “I guess I’ll get as much time as I can in the gym and get myself ready,” he said.


Johnson, from Westchester High, played two seasons at Connecticut. He played in 31 games, starting 19, in 2006-07 and averaged 5.5 points.

Johnson, a senior, is expected to be used in USC’s rotation at small forward and shooting guard. But first he will have to reacquaint himself with game situations. “Most guys who have been out this long make mistakes when they come back,” Johnson said. “But I have to learn from them quick, especially at this point in the season.”

Washington out

Forward Leonard Washington was at USC’s practice Friday wearing a walking boot on his left leg. He suffered a high ankle sprain against Georgia Tech on Monday and will be out “two to four weeks,” Coach Tim Floyd said.

Washington, a freshman, had started the last four games at power forward. He had 17 points against North Dakota State and 14 against Pepperdine. He was injured in the opening seconds against Georgia Tech.

“He was really playing well,” Floyd said"He gave us another dimension. He’s different from our other guys in size, strength and athleticism.”