According to multiple reports, USC will once again be without the services of starting center Toa Lobendahn for the season. Trojans’ head coach Clay Helton confirmed Thursday after practice that Lobendahn will be lost for the rest of 2016 with a knee injury.
USC center Toa Lobendahn is out for the season with a torn MCL and ACL.
— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) September 9, 2016
Lobendahn tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee. This is the second debilitating injury that Lobendahn has suffered in as many seasons. He missed the last seven games last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee.
Lobendahn suffered the injury in the first quarter against Alabama last Saturday, but nevertheless he gutted out the rest of the game.
An MRI initially showed just an MCL tear, but during the surgery the ACL was also found to be torn.
“He’s just a very, very tough individual and one of the loves of my life,” Helton said. “And he will be missed greatly.”
He expects to redshirt this season, maintaining two seasons of eligibility.
With Lobendahn gone, Helton will call on Nico Falah to start at center. Falah started one game last season for the Trojans after prior injuries at center moved him up the depth chart. Other options include Chris Brown and Cole Smith.
Lobendahn is a 6’3”, 205-pound center from Cerritos, California. He in many ways was the heart and soul of the offensive line and Helton has called him a “true warrior.”
USC is coming off a humbling loss to Alabama last Saturday where it loss by a score of 52-6. The Trojans are now set to make their home debut when it hosts Utah State on Saturday.