A tough season for the USC Trojans has been tougher over the last four games, as they’ve been forced to play without freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin due to shoulder issues. On Wednesday it was revealed that McLaughlin, who leads the team in assists and is also one of the Trojans’ leading scorers (three players average 12.1 ppg), will miss the remainder of the season.
Head coach Andy Enfield revealed the news following the Trojans’ 70-66 loss to Washington State, and McLaughlin will need to undergo surgery on both shoulders. McLaughlin dislocated his right shoulder in a loss to Utah in early January, and just over a month later suffered a similar injury to his left shoulder in a loss to Oregon.
McLaughlin underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder following his senior season at Etiwanda HS last year, and according to Michael Lev of the Orange County Register this is an issue that has plagued McLaughlin for quite some time.
Simply put, McLaughlin has a chronic issue with his shoulders popping out of their sockets. He needs to strengthen them to the point that there’s a minimal chance of that happening again.
Enfield gave a recovery timetable of 5-6 months, but it’s unclear whether that would be viable if McLaughlin needs two procedures. It also seems unlikely that he’d be able to have the surgeries concurrently.
The recovery period is a tough one for McLaughlin and USC, as a decent portion of the offseason could wind up being devoted to rehabilitation as opposed to improving his skill set. But even with that being the case, a less than 100 percent McLaughlin can only do so much to help a team looking to make the climb up the Pac-12 standings.
Without McLaughlin sophomore Julian Jacobs, who’s second on the team in assists, has been handling the point guard duties for USC. Jacobs and McLaughlin are the lone scholarship point guards on the current roster, and that’s likely to be the case next season as well.
The Trojans have two regular season games left to play before next month’s Pac-12 tournament.