USC tailback Tre Madden's fate for this season could be decided in the next week or two, Coach Steve Sarkisian said.
Madden, the Trojans' second-leading rusher in 2013, has not played this year because of a toe injury. He attempted to practice last week but said afterward that the toe remained sore.
Sarkisian indicated that USC and Madden were exploring corrective options that would keep the fourth-year junior sidelined but allow him to be physically sound by spring practice next year.
"Those conversations have begun," Sarkisian said. "More than likely the final decision on those kinds of things will come within a week or so."
Madden redshirted after suffering a knee injury in spring 2012. He could petition for a sixth season of eligibility when he exhausts his initial eligibility after the 2015 season.
Without Madden, USC has relied almost exclusively on junior Javorius Allen and sophomore Justin Davis to run the ball.
Sarkisian said Madden performed well during spring practice and training camp and was poised for a good season.
"I want to do what's in the best interest of Tre," Sarkisian said. "He obviously wants to come back but we have to be smart in the decision we make."