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Under The Knife

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It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart. First he shocks the sports world by announcing that he will return for his senior year as the undisputed leader of the 2-time defending national champion Trojan football team.

Today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times brings the announcement of a long-rumored elbow surgery. Performed yesterday by USC team doctor James Tibone, “"The surgery went fine, and there were no problems. We found what we expected, a small degenerative part of his tendon."

Leinart had struggled with tendinitis ever since 2003, and the condition got so bad that he was somewhat limited in practice, especially on deep throws. LAist sincerely hopes that the young star can make a quick recovery, but USC fans should not fret. Coach Pete Carroll wasn’t going to play Leinart much in spring workouts anyway, preferring instead to take good, long looks at hotshot prospects John David Booty and Rocky Hinds. Now he can spend every repetition on those two guys. We suspect he already knows what Leinart can do…

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LAist thinks now more than ever that Leinart made the right decision to stay in school. Once the NFL’s scouting combine starts in several weeks, scouts, team physicians and nervous coaches tend to get frightened of quarterbacks who have just had elbow surgery. They wouldn’t be able to evaluate him in person, and those nagging questions about mediocre arm strength would most assuredly have dogged him on an exponentially more intense level.

In such a polarized vacuum, even the most minor glitch in a prospect’s armor tends to get overplayed. This is doubtless what would have happened to Leinart, and it probably would have cost him a lot of money, not to mention the fact that the kid really wanted to stay in school anyway.

Once again, LAist thinks he made the right call.