Torn knee ligaments to sideline Dennis

Updated: April 7, 2006, 10:21 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California tailback Hershel Dennis, who entered spring practice No. 1 on the depth chart, has torn ligaments in his left knee and is expected to miss the 2006 season.

Dennis was injured in practice Tuesday, apparently trying to cut on the wet artificial turf at USC's Cromwell Field. An MRI taken Wednesday night revealed the damage.

The fifth-year senior tore ligaments in the same knee in December 2004, had surgery the following month and sat out last season. USC coach Pete Carroll said after practice Thursday that the school would look into applying for a sixth year of eligibility for Dennis. A date wasn't immediately set for surgery.

"He was crushed by the whole thought of it, going through this again and all, but by the time we finished talking he had already started to turn his sights toward the goals he'll set up for himself for recovery," Carroll told the Los Angeles Times.

Running back Desmond Reed, who played as a backup last season, will also miss the season, ESPN's Joe Schad reports.

Reed injured his ACL in last season's game against Notre Dame. He is rehabilitating the injury but is not expected to be able to return to play in 2006.

Dennis started every game as a sophomore in 2003 -- ahead of then-freshmen Reggie Bush and LenDale White.

Dennis was the only experienced tailback participating in spring practice. Reed and Michael Coleman both played as backups last season. Coleman, who had 95 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, is also recovering from an operation, his on a hip.

Chauncy Washington, who has been academically ineligible the past two seasons and isn't participating in spring practice, hopes to play next fall. He is currently taking classes at USC.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.