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USC’s Chad Wheeler misses practice after incident with police

USC tackle Chad Wheeler is still dealing with a sore foot a week before the season opener.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Chad Wheeler, USC’s starting left tackle, was absent from the first practice for the Holiday Bowl on Saturday after his apparent involvement in an incident with police.

Coach Clay Helton said after the 10 a.m. practice that Wheeler was absent because of an unspecified matter.

“Chad is going through a personal issue … that we’re dealing with, and I’m going to leave it at that right now,” Helton said. “We’re sorting through it.”

Helton declined to elaborate.

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A person at USC with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Wheeler was involved in an incident with police. The person requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

A fire department official said units responded after receiving a police alert involving a 21-year-old USC football player who was a “barricaded suspect” with a 20-year-old female friend and her 7-month-old son.

Jane Kim, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, would not release the identity of a man involved but said an incident occurred in the 1100 block of West Adams Boulevard. She said “a family member” called the police at 7:45 a.m., regarding a “disorderly” person.

The man came out of the residence, Kim said, then “ignored the officers’ commands and ran back into the kitchen area.” She said the officers were concerned that he could grab some kind of weapon, so “a use of force occurred.”

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Kim said the man was taken to a hospital for evaluation. No arrest was made and no charges were forthcoming, she said. A woman at the scene was briefly detained and was released.

Wheeler started 12 of 13 games this season. He was sidelined for the Oct. 24 game against Utah because of a concussion. He also suffered a concussion during training camp in August when he was accidentally hit in the head with a medicine ball.

On Saturday, Zach Banner moved from right tackle to left, and freshman Chuma Edoga played right tackle.

Banner, who announced last week that he would return for his senior season, started in place of Wheeler against Utah.

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