Sanchez’s status is up in air

Times Staff Writer

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez suffered a bone bruise in his left knee against Oregon and “has a chance to play” this week against Arizona State, Coach Pete Carroll said Sunday.

Sanchez was injured in the third quarter of USC’s 44-10 victory when he was sacked by former Mission Viejo High teammate Nick Reed. He left the field for one series but returned and played into the fourth quarter.

Carroll said X-rays and an MRI exam revealed no ligament damage and that the injury was not related to the dislocated kneecap that forced Sanchez to sit out most of training camp.

Sanchez has worn a protective sleeve and a brace on his left knee since the kneecap injury.


“Thankfully, I had the patella stabilizer and the brace and that took care of me,” Sanchez said Saturday night after the game.

Sanchez will not practice today and will be evaluated daily.

Mitch Mustain, who passed for a touchdown against Oregon, would start if Sanchez could not play, Carroll said. Mustain completed five of eight passes for 111 yards and a touchdown with one interception against Oregon.

“Mitch did really well in the game and lived up to his opportunity,” Carroll said.

Mustain called an audible on a late fourth-quarter play that resulted in a 59-yard touchdown pass to David Ausberry, a play that reportedly miffed Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti.

Carroll said Mustain made a good call on a play when the Trojans were trying to convert on third down.

“I can’t worry about it,” Carroll said of Bellotti’s perception.

The victory moved the Trojans from ninth to eighth in the Associated Press media poll, jumping unbeaten Brigham Young in the process.

USC, however, remained ninth in the coaches’ poll and dropped from seventh to eighth in the Harris Interactive Poll, which make up two-thirds of the formula used to come up with the Bowl Championship Series standings.

Quick kicks

Carroll on tailback Allen Bradford’s hip injury, which kept him from suiting up against Oregon: “They’re not ready to operate yet. If it lingers and doesn’t go away, that’s what they resort to.” . . . Linebacker Michael Morgan, who suffered a concussion in the first half, was evaluated Sunday and should be fine, Carroll said. . . . Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter suffered an ankle injury in the Sun Devils’ 24-14 loss at California, but has a chance to play against the Trojans, Coach Dennis Erickson told the East Valley Tribune on Sunday.