June 16, 2024

Starting point guard Isaiah Collier will miss four to six weeks with a right hand injury, USC announced Thursday, stripping the struggling Trojans of one of their best offensive playmakers during a critical stretch of the conference schedule.

Collier, the top-ranked freshman in the country, sustained the injury in a loss to Washington State on Wednesday, subbing out with 12 minutes 12 seconds remaining in the second half. Collier, USC’s second-leading scorer, is averaging 15.4 points while shooting 50.6% from the field. He leads the team with 66 assists.

The injury could open a larger role for fellow freshman Bronny James, who has been playing on a minutes restriction as he returns from a cardiac arrest suffered during the summer. James returned to the court Dec. 10 against Long Beach State. In eight appearances, the son of Lakers star LeBron James is averaging 5.9 points per game with 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals. Despite a recent shooting slump — 0 for 7 in the last two games — James is a valuable asset to USC’s defense as one of the team’s top perimeter defenders and already has been trusted to close games in Collier’s place.

Needing wins to boost a flimsy postseason résumé, the Trojans (8-8, 2-3 Pac-12) play their next three games on the road: Colorado on Saturday, No. 8 Arizona on Wednesday and Arizona State on Jan. 20. USC’s next home game is against rival UCLA on Jan. 27.


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