The signs weren't promising. At the beginning of Friday's practice in the Orlando, Fla., area, South Carolina's senior starting right guard, Terrence Campbell, rode a stationary bike while wearing a bulky cover on his lower right leg, from his ankle to just below his knee. After practice, he leaned on crutches and iced his lower leg.
He did not appear capable of playing in Monday's Capital One Bowl against Nebraska. And he probably won't, USC coach Steve Spurrier said after Friday's practice.
Campbell cracked his fibula in the Nov. 26 regular season finale against Clemson. He didn't participate in pre-bowl practices in Columbia, but did take part in USC's first two workouts in Florida -- Wednesday and Thursday. Spurrier had hoped, shortly after Campbell got hurt, that he could play in the bowl. But Friday, he sounded resigned that Campbell won't.
"I'm doubtful he can do much," Spurrier said.
Spurrier plans to move senior right tackle Rokevious Watkins to right guard, where he started 13 of 14 games last season, with the other start at left guard. He moved to right tackle in the spring. Senior Kyle Nunn will take over at left tackle. He started the first four games there this season, but hasn't played since because of a back injury and blood clot in his leg. He started seven games at left tackle in each of the previous two seasons.
True freshman Mike Matulis will start at right tackle for the fourth straight game, though redshirt freshman Cody Gibson also could play there, Spurrier said.
Junior center T.J. Johnson, a second-year starter, isn't worried about having a different right guard next to him as USC tries to win its school-record 11th game, because he has already played next to Watkins. Watkins practiced at right guard recently with Campbell out.
"We've got a good chemistry and we know what's going on," Johnson said. "I really do enjoy having Rok inside with me. He's a big body. He's just fun to play beside. He's a talker. I just love being around Rok. I don't have to worry about him getting the call, getting the play, messing up. He knows what he's doing."
Plus, Johnson said offensive coach Shawn Elliott "cross-trains" his players by sometimes putting them at different spots on the line in practice. Johnson recently practiced at tackle.
Ellington catching up
Sophomore wide receiver Bruce Ellington played point guard for USC's basketball team Wednesday night and scored 17 points. Then the former Berkeley High standout took a 5:30 a.m. flight Thursday to Orlando. Ellington, who has 17 catches, 17 rushes and 18 kickoff returns this year, said he feels no worse for the wear.
"I got some sleep on the plane, but after practice, I got some good rest," he said. "Basketball helped me stay in shape for football. There's a couple more things I have to learn with this offense. I'm just going to keep reading the playbook. Physically, I'm good."
Spurrier said Ellington is "not completely" in football shape, "but he's got a couple more days to watch some tape and hopefully learn the plays a little bit better. He's only practiced about three times in a month with football, so he's not going to start. But hopefully, he'll be ready to play some."
This and that
Starting free safety D.J. Swearinger also rode a stationary bike Friday and wore a protective boot on his right foot, which has a nagging stress fracture. He practiced the first two days in Florida. "He'll manage to get ready to play, I think," Spurrier said, adding that he has no other injury concerns ... Leading wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said his left hand feels normal. He fractured it against Clemson and had surgery. All along, Spurrier said Jeffery should be OK for the bowl. He could match up with Nebraska senior cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who is rated the No. 20 overall prospect and No. 3 cornerback by NFLDraftScout.com. "I'm sure he's going to bring his best game," Jeffery said. "I'm going to try to bring my best game."