COLUMBIA — South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had an MRI taken on his injured knee Monday, but the result showed nothing more serious than a bruise.
Clowney sat out last week’s practices and game against Wofford while dealing with the knee and a foot problem that will likely need to be repaired surgically in the offseason.
As for Saturday’s game at Clemson, USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Tuesday he thinks Clowney will play against the Tigers.
“I thought he was going to play last week,” Ward said. “If he plays I expect him to be Jadeveon Clowney. You’re talking about one of the top players in the country. We’d definitely love to have him out there but if we don’t, then we’ve got to have somebody else step up and play. That’s the game of football; there’s going to be injuries.”
USC coach Steve Spurrier said Clowney was expected to practice Tuesday and Wednesday on a limited basis.
Ward said if Clowney can’t go, he’ll look to junior Chaz Sutton to step up.
Shaw’s status not determined: South Carolina starting QB Connor Shaw has yet to practice this week because of a foot sprain that’s been bothering him for over three weeks.
“It’s a pretty good concern if he’s not able to practice,” Spurrier said. “Again, we’ll have to wait and see where he is (today) or Thursday. If not, (backup) Dylan (Thompson) is ready to go play.”
Spurrier said he would’ve put Thompson in last week, but Shaw kept telling the coaches he was healthy enough to finish the game after reinjuring the foot on the first series.
“We’ll just have to see,” he said. “If (Shaw) is able to play, certainly he’ll be ready to play. Whether or not we start him or not will probably depend on his health.
Bruce Ellington feeling fine: USC receiver Bruce Ellington, who leads the team with 31 catches for 492 yards, suffered a bruised hand against Wofford but said Tuesday he should be fine for the Clemson game. Ellington, who also plays point guard on the basketball team, added that he will again decide after the seasons are over whether or not he’ll play football again.
Spurrier talks more Swinney: Spurrier was asked Tuesday about his comments toward Clemson coach Dabo Swinney during Marcus Lattimore’s pep rally last month.
“I just mentioned when we had that pep rally for Marcus, sort of an appreciation on his birthday, that I agreed that Dabo had mentioned that Marcus Lattimore stands for everything right in college football,” Spurrier said. “I just mentioned I agreed with him. I didn’t think that was a derogatory comment. I guess Dabo, I found out he loves Southern California and the University of North Carolina. That’s the only thing I know about him; he really likes those two schools. Other than that, it’s no big deal.”
Underdog Gamecocks: USC opened as a 4-point underdog to the Tigers this week, and Spurrier agreed with the folks in Las Vegas when asked if he was surprised about that, considering his team has won three straight in the series.
“No, not the way they’ve played and we’ve played,” he said. “It’s usually based on how teams have performed and played. That’s not surprising at all. Like I said, these are guys that are one game away from being in the hunt for everything.”
Spurrier lobbying for Morris: Spurrier said it’s “strange” that Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris isn’t a candidate for some of the head coaching jobs opening up across the country.
“The guy’s put together one of the top offenses in the country the last two years,” Spurrier said. “I would think his name’s got to be on a list of head coaching candidates.”