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The Sports Report: Jaxson Dart to miss time after knee surgery

USC quarterbacks Jaxson Dart, left, and Kedon Slovis.
(Young Kwak; Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Ryan Kartje on USC football: During a debut last Saturday so dynamic it nearly upended USC’s immediate plans under center, freshman quarterback Jaxson Dart played through a torn meniscus in his knee, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

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Dart, who hadn’t appeared at practice since the injury, had minor surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee earlier this week. He’ll miss Saturday’s game against Oregon State and is expected to be out for an extended period, leaving incumbent Kedon Slovis atop the depth chart for the foreseeable future.

Slovis’ neck injury thrust Dart into action against Washington State last Saturday. After a helmet-to-helmet collision sidelined the Trojans’ two-time all-conference quarterback during the game’s first drive, Dart took over and proceeded to put together one of the most extraordinary debuts by a USC quarterback in program history, throwing for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

He did so while hobbling to the huddle throughout the second half. Dart appeared to hurt his right knee late in the second quarter after being hit low on a run-pass option play in which he chose to keep the ball. He wore a brace on his knee after halftime, as USC rolled to 45 unanswered points in the victory.

Dart said after the game that he would be fine, while interim USC coach Donte Williams said he never considered taking Dart out of the game.

“Jaxson? No, Jaxson told me he was good,” Williams said. “That’s all I know, Jaxson’s good.”

But the freshman wasn’t in attendance at USC’s practices on Tuesday or Wednesday. When asked about Dart’s status after Tuesday’s practice, Williams said that Dart was “dealing with a couple things.”

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UCLA FOOTBALL

Ben Bolch on the Bruins: He heard the whispers it might sabotage his football career. At the very least it would leave him out of shape, maybe force him to lose his edge if not the desire to become a top college quarterback.

The cynicism nudged Elder Tanner McKee out of his bunk bed each morning in the seaside town in southern Brazil, providing a purpose beyond spreading the message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The missionary who grew up in Corona and starred at Centennial High would curl a makeshift bar with cement slabs on each end, adding resistance bands he slipped underneath his feet. He would throw a football to his companion on the mission, a kid on the streets — anyone he could find, really. He would walk for miles and miles while sharing the Gospel, possibly the one part of the mission that served a dual purpose for someone who always remembered his eventual destination.

Everyone, it seems, is a believer now in the Stanford sophomore.

USC was awed by the lifelong Trojans fan who beat his beloved team on its home field earlier this month, throwing for two touchdowns in his first college start.

Vanderbilt was similarly impressed the next week after the 6-foot-6, 225-pound McKee threw for two more touchdowns and ran for another while leading his team to a second consecutive victory.

UCLA is next in line to find out what the 21-year-old can do when the No. 24 Bruins (2-1) face the Cardinal (2-1) on Saturday afternoon at Stanford Stadium in his home debut.

DODGERS

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: For 30 minutes Thursday afternoon, before the Dodgers roared back for a 7-5 win over the Colorado Rockies, their hopes of a ninth consecutive National League West title appeared dead.

They were flat, trailing the Rockies by two runs with six outs remaining at Coors Field, on their way to dropping two of three games to the inferior club for the second time in four weeks. The San Francisco Giants meanwhile were working more magic 1,000 miles away at Petco Park, taking a lead over the San Diego Padres on a pinch-hit, three-run home run.

It was scoreboard watching to the nth degree.

“A little bit of a seesaw,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

If the results held, the Dodgers would’ve fallen three games behind the Giants in the standings with nine games left. Catching them would’ve been nearly impossible. But the results didn’t hold.

The Dodgers (98-55) scratched a run in the eighth inning and another in the ninth when Trea Turner, with two outs, sneaked a groundball through the left side for a tying single.

Kenley Jansen held the Rockies (71-81) scoreless in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extras. With a designated runner at second base, Max Muncy launched the first pitch of the 10th inning over the wall in center field for a two-run home run.

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They ran out into Dodger Stadium to remind L.A. of a dark moment in Latino history. But fans booed

ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: The social-media reaction to Joe Maddon’s pointed comments about the need for major rotation upgrades next season was that the Angels manager was trying to send a message to general manager Perry Minasian and owner Arte Moreno. Minasian said no such messages are necessary.

“I may not win some kind of academic decathlon, but I’m not an idiot,” Minasian said Thursday. “The guy has won a lot. He knows what it takes to win. I didn’t think it was anything earth-shattering. I did receive a couple of text messages, but I didn’t get what the big deal was. We need good players. Of course.”

Maddon expressed frustration with another September filled with meaningless games and nightly auditions for young players, saying the club needs “to get guys who are ready to win right now in that rotation in order to get to where we want to be.”

The Angels, who have not reached the playoffs since 2014, are nearing the end of their sixth straight losing season in which they’ll finish at least 10 games behind the American League West winner.

LAKERS

Dan Woike on the Lakers: The Lakers will have a fully vaccinated team by the time the team opens its season on Oct. 19 against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

Team general manager Rob Pelinka made the announcement during a news conference less than a week before the team begins training camp.

“All of the players that are currently signed on our roster, on that night, will be deemed fully vaccinated,” Pelinka said. “We’re really grateful for that. I think in collaboration with UCLA and the doctors and people internally, we will be grateful that we won’t have interruptions caused by the vaccinated status of a player or a staff member.”

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Rob Pelinka says Lakers fans will see a slimmer LeBron James this season

RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: Rams running back Sony Michel is on track for a big opportunity Sunday against the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Will receiver DeSean Jackson finally enjoy a similar profile?

Those situations continued to evolve for coach Sean McVay on Thursday as his team prepared for Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium.

With Darrell Henderson out for the second consecutive day because of a rib injury, Michel almost certainly will start for the Rams for the first time. Michel, acquired in a late-August trade with the New England Patriots, rushed for 46 yards in 10 carries during the decisive fourth quarter of a 27-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday.

“My job is to try and learn as fast as I can in a short amount of time,” Michel said after practice, “and if my number is called on Sunday, then I’ll be ready to go.”

Jackson said he would do the same.

The Rams signed Jackson to provide a deep threat for new quarterback Matthew Stafford, but through two games McVay has given the 14th-year pro only two opportunities to catch a pass.

“Still a little early,” Jackson said Thursday, “so just patiently waiting. Hopefully, this week is the week that I’ll be unleashed.”

CHARGERS

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: They lost a fumble that traveled 25 yards and through the end zone.

They had a pass intercepted after the receiver fell.

They gave back a touchdown because of an illegal shift.

The 2021 Chargers have not been good in the red zone and, in fact, have been rather weird.

“Hopefully, that fluky stuff balances out in the end,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said, “and we improve on the things that we can control.”

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1930 — The Portsmouth Spartans beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 12-0 in the first NFL game played under floodlights. More than 6,000 fans turn out on an unseasonably warm evening to watch the game at the new University Stadium.

1950 — Philadelphia’s Russ Craft has four interceptions to lead the Eagles in a 45-7 rout of the Chicago Cardinals. Chicago quarterback Jim Hardy sets an NFL record by throwing eight interceptions.

1953 — Rocky Marciano knocks out Rolando La Starza in the 11th round at the Polo Grounds in New York to retain his world heavyweight title.

1967 — Jim Bakken of St. Louis Cardinals kicks an NFL-record seven field goals to give the Cardinals a 28-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. His longest field goal is 33 yards.

1971 — The World Hockey Assn. announces its formation with 12 teams to start play in October 1972.

1974 — Detroit’s Al Kaline doubles down the right-field line off Dave McNally of Baltimore in the fourth inning for his 3,000th hit. The Orioles beat the Tigers 5-4 at Memorial Stadium.

1993 — Juniata’s women’s volleyball team beats Washington of St. Louis to end Washington’s NCAA-record winning streak at 59 matches.

1994 — Washington ends Miami’s NCAA-record home winning streak at 58 with a 38-20 victory against the Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl.

1995 — On the final day of competition, Europe rallies past the U.S. to win the Ryder Cup 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. Europe takes seven singles matches to win its first Ryder Cup since 1989.

2001 — Green Bay’s 37-0 shutout of Washington ends the Redskins’ NFL record of scoring in 231 consecutive road games.

2006 — The Europeans turn the Ryder Cup into another rout, winning 18 1/2-9 1/2 and becoming the first European team to win three straight times.

2006 — Washington’s Mark Brunell breaks the NFL record for most consecutive passes completed in a game when he connects on his first 22 throws in a 31-15 win over the Houston Texans.

2011 — Dwayne De Rosario scores the quickest hat trick in MLS history, leading D.C. United to a 4-1 victory over Real Salt Lake.

2012 — Russell Wilson throws a disputed 24-yard touchdown to Golden Tate on the final play of the game, and the Seattle Seahawks rally to beat the Green Bay Packers 14-12.

2013 — Skipper Jimmy Spithill and defending champion Oracle Team USA extend their winning streak to seven to force a winner-take-all America’s Cup finale against Emirates Team New Zealand.

2016 — Daniel Carlson kicks six field goals and Auburn beats No. 18 LSU 18-13 after a ruling that Danny Etling’s apparent last-gasp scoring pass comes after time expired.

2017 — Peter Sagan of Slovakia becomes the first man to win three straight road race titles after holding off Norway’s Alexander Kristoff at the World Cycling Championships.

2017 — Diego Valeri scores twice to extend his MLS-record scoring streak to nine straight games and Portland beats Orlando City 3-0. Valeri moves in front of NYCFC’s David Villa for most goals this season with 20.

2017 — Jake Elliott kicks a 61-yard field goal as time expires to give the Philadelphia Eagles a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants. It is the longest by a rookie in NFL history.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Al Kaline gets his 3,000th hit. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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