Steve Spurrier said on his call-in show Thursday night that senior running back Kenny Miles has yet to fully return to practice after sustaining a knee injury against Clemson.
Miles was injured late in the victory against the Tigers but returned after freshman Mike Davis was injured as well.
That has opened a spot for Shon Carson, who has missed the entire season with a wrist injury that required two surgeries. Carson was thought to be seeking a medical redshirt after being injured for the second consecutive season (he suffered a torn ACL in 2011), but has returned to action for the bowl preparation. He has indicated to the coaching staff that he wants to play.
Spurrier said the hope is to have Miles back to full action when the Gamecocks arrive in Tampa, Fla., on Dec. 26. If all three running backs are healthy for the bowl game, that should allow USC to keep the redshirt on Brandon Wilds, who has been healthy enough for a month but wants to redshirt after playing as a freshman in 2011.
Carson and Davis have been alternating the reps in practice according to Spurrier.
Quarterback coach G.A. Mangus reiterated what Spurrier has been saying since bowl practice began — starter Connor Shaw and backup Dylan Thompson are both expected to play against Michigan.
Shaw, who missed the Clemson game, has rested his ailing foot and it has responded better than expected. Mangus said Shaw has looked sharp in practice but he and Thompson have shown they deserve a chance to play.
“Connor is getting as healthy as he’s been in a while,” Mangus said. “He’s looked good. (The quarterbacks) had good tempo and good enthusiasm about them. (Connor) has had a pretty good stretch of staying off (his injured foot). Hopefully, that will pay off. Connor’s been the starter. He’s earned it. It’s nice to have a couple of guys who can go in there and play. That hadn’t been the case necessarily over the last few years. Both will play.”
Redshirt freshman reserve linebacker Cedrick Cooper is out indefinitely after he tore his left ACL during Wednesday’s practice, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward confirmed. He played in 11 games, mostly on special teams, and recorded one tackle this season.
If Cooper is recovered in time for the 2013 season, he should battle for a starting job since the Gamecocks lose their top four linebackers from this season.
USC will return to the practice field Friday afternoon and again on Saturday morning before breaking for Christmas. ... The team is to report to Tampa on Dec. 26.