USC cornerback Josh Shaw is regarded by teammates as a leader.
He also is now a hero.
Shaw, a fifth-year senior, will be sidelined indefinitely because of ankle injuries suffered while rescuing a relative in distress in a swimming pool.
Shaw suffered two high-ankle sprains Saturday night after he leaped from a second-story balcony to come to the aid of a 7-year-old nephew who cannot swim, USC said Monday. Shaw, who was attending a family function at an apartment in Palmdale, landed on concrete and then crawled into the pool to assist his nephew, the school said.
"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told USC's website. "My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."
USC opens its season Saturday against Fresno State.
Shaw's father, James, said he was not at the function but was not surprised by his son's actions.
"That's Josh for you," James said in a telephone interview. "That's about all you need to know about him."
James said he "wouldn't be surprised" if his son attempts to play Saturday or "gives it a shot," to convince coaches he is ready.
Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins was listed as Shaw's backup on the depth chart USC released Sunday.
Junior Kevon Seymour is the other starting cornerback, with freshman Adoree' Jackson his backup.
"That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside," Coach Steve Sarkisian told the school's website. "But that's the kind of person he is. It is unfortunate that he'll be sidelined for a while and we will miss his leadership and play, but I know he'll be working hard to get back on the field as soon as possible."
The last time USC played Fresno State, Clay Helton was on the sideline as interim coach leading the Trojans to a 45-20 Las Vegas Bowl victory.
On Saturday, the Trojans' offensive coordinator will be in the coaches' booth in the Coliseum press box helping Sarkisian, the play-caller, "any way I can," he said.
Helton, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was a longtime assistant at Memphis before he came to USC in 2010. Memphis ran a no-huddle offense.
"It's really been a smooth transition," he said of moving from the pro-style system the Trojans ran under Kiffin to the no-huddle offense installed by Sarkisian.
Fresno State reached the Las Vegas Bowl last season behind the play of quarterback Derek Carr, now with the Oakland Raiders.
Fresno State Coach Tim DeRuyter has not named a starting quarterback for the opener.
Junior Brian Burrell completed seven of 12 passes for 51 yards last season as Carr's backup.
Senior Brandon Connette, a graduate transfer from Duke, last season completed 90 of 145 passes for 1,212 yards and 13 touchdowns, with six passes intercepted. The former Corona Santiago High player also rushed for 337 yards and 14 touchdowns in 101 carries.