Williams is unlikely to play


Damian Williams, USC’s top receiver and punt returner, is doubtful for Saturday’s game against Stanford because of a high ankle sprain suffered against Arizona State.

The junior did not practice Monday and wore a calf-high protective boot on his right foot.

“It’s been tough the last two days just trying to walk,” Williams said. “I kind of figured out, like, ‘OK, there is a possibility that I might not play,’ so that’s really tough for me.”

Williams said it was too early to rule out his playing against the Cardinal -- “I’m a quick healer,” he said -- but high ankle sprains typically take weeks to heal.


USC tight end Anthony McCoy, for example, has sat out the last two games because of the same injury. The senior did a few drills Monday and said he would meet with doctors tonight with hopes of playing Saturday.

“I’ve still got a little spiky pain in the front of my ankle and a little bit in the back, but I think by the end of the week most of it will die down,” McCoy said.

McCoy’s absence has severely affected a Trojans offense that struggled during the second half of a loss at Oregon and for the entire game at Arizona State.

The loss of Williams would be even more problematic.

The transfer from Arkansas has caught 45 passes for 688 yards and five touchdowns. He also has returned two punts for touchdowns.

Despite soreness in hamstring and gluteus muscles, Williams scored the Trojans’ only offensive touchdown against Arizona State on a spectacular 75-yard pass play early in the third quarter. He was hurt a few series later while blocking on a screen pass.

“I think one of our linemen, going to make an extra dive for the play, kind of took out my leg and I got rolled up,” Williams said. “I tried to walk and there was just a burning in my leg. And then I tried to regather myself and get up again and it wasn’t happening.”


If Williams cannot play, Brice Butler would probably start in his place. Coach Pete Carroll said Travon Patterson and Jordan Cameron also would play more.

Sophomore Brandon Carswell, who sat out against Arizona State because of a toe injury, participated in limited drills Monday and said that he hoped to play against Stanford.

Tight spot

Tight end Blake Ayles is trying to put out of his mind dropping another pass that potentially could have produced a touchdown.

Ayles dropped passes from quarterback Matt Barkley against Oregon and Arizona State.

“I’ve been one to let a play get stuck in my head,” he said. “So I’m just trying to let it go.”

Quick hits

Middle linebacker Chris Galippo did not practice because of a right knee bruise suffered against Arizona State but said he would practice today. . . . Defensive end Everson Griffen, sidelined against Arizona State because of a toe injury, was limited in practice but said he would probably play against Stanford. . . . Safety Will Harris, who intercepted two passes against Arizona State, returning one for a touchdown, was selected Pacific 10 Conference defensive player of the week. . . . Jordan Congdon is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the nation’s top kicker.