Monday's freak weightlifting

accident involving USC Trojan tailback Stafon Johnson dealt yet another blow to the injury-racked football team. In yesterday's bench-pressmishap, Johnson let slip a weight that came crashing down on

his neck during team training. According to the L.A. Times,

Johnson underwent seven hours of surgery yesterday and, while doctors

expect him to make a full recovery, he is out for the season. An

earlier Times report said Johnson, who leads the team with five

touchdowns, had been listed in critical but stable condition, and had

been spitting up blood.

The campus paper, the Daily Trojan,

said the Dorsey High School graduate had been rushed to “California

Hospital Medical Center where he was treated for 'crushing injuries to

his neck as well as severe laryngeal injuries.'” Team coach Pete

Carroll told the Daily Trojan that Johnson had been unable to speak after the accident.

The team's string of injuries began before the season even started, when presumed first-quarterback Aaron Corp cracked a fibula and, in a twist of fortune out of one of those old backstage musicals like 42nd Street, Corp was replaced by true freshman Matt Barkley. While Barkley's arm and poise impressed fans and sports writers alike during his first two appearances, he then suffered a bruised shoulder bone in the Trojan's victorious game with Ohio State. This gave the sidelined Corp a chance in the spotlight the following week as he took over QB duties, but he turned in a mediocre performance in the team's upset loss to the University of Washington Huskies.

Even before this, however, star safety Taylor Mays had been placed on

the disabled list with a knee injury, sealing USC's fate in their

Huskies game. Then linebacker Jordan Campbell suffered an injury to his

ankle in last Saturday's win over the Washington State Cougars.


to the Trojans' woes are the fact that cornerback Marshall Jones, who

suffered a cracked neck vertebra, will miss the rest of the season —

as will defensive tackle Habron Fangupo with a broken fibula. Injuries

are as much a part of football as marching bands and Gatorade, but the

number and severity of the ones afflicting the Trojans will undoubtedly

make this their most challenging season in years.

LA Weekly