USC optimistic McKnight will play

Updated: December 24, 2009, 2:10 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- USC running back Joe McKnight rejoined the Trojans for practice Thursday after missing their early preparations for the Emerald Bowl.

[+] EnlargeJoe McKnight
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireUSC's Joe McKnight has gotten clearance to practice with the Trojans. His next hope: to play in the Emerald Bowl.

McKnight still hasn't been cleared by the school to play against Boston College on Saturday night, but coach Pete Carroll was optimistic he'll be available. USC is investigating whether McKnight violated rules by using an SUV that doesn't belong to him.

McKnight practiced with the Trojans in Los Angeles on Monday, but stayed home to deal with compliance issues when the Trojans traveled to San Francisco. Carroll said McKnight arrived in the Bay Area on Wednesday night.

"Joe did everything he needed to do compliance-wise in L.A., so it was the right thing to get him up here right away," Carroll said. "Compliance hasn't made a final ruling, but this is a most favorable sign."

McKnight is USC's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2005, with 1,014 yards on 6.2 yards per carry and eight touchdowns during USC's worst season since 2001. With three losses in their final five regular-season games, the Trojans (8-4) failed to make a BCS bowl and win the Pac-10 title for the first time in eight years.

If McKnight can't play, Allen Bradford likely will start for the Trojans. Bradford rushed for 596 yards and eight scores, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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