On the cusp of USC's 2013 college football season, the Trojans find themselves wondering about the health of their senior running back, Silas Redd.
Although the absence of Redd will hurt the Trojans depth-wise, USC still has a talented stable of running backs at its disposal in 2013.
However, the Trojans will miss Redd's experience and, as a senior, his leadership as well.
This slideshow will look at Silas Redd and offer some predictions regarding his contributions to USC for the upcoming season.
Can Redd recover in time to help the Cardinal and Gold in 2013?
Here's how one person sees the season unfolding for No. 25.
Typically, the loss of a team's leading rusher would be cause for panic. In this case, while head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff are concerned for the health of Redd, they won't need to run the risk of rushing the senior back to the field of play.
This is because USC finds itself with a veritable embarrassment of riches at running back, including big back Tre Madden, speedy D.J. Morgan, combo back Buck Allen as well as true freshmen Justin Davis and Ty Isaac.
Of those just mentioned, look for Madden and Davis to open the season toting the rock for the men of Troy. That said, this entire unit is capable, and with the exception of Isaac—who may wind up taking a redshirt in 2013—all of these guys can make an impact for USC at this position.
For this reason, Kiffin will not need Redd to return until he is completely healthy.
When Silas Redd is ready to return for USC, he will find himself coming into the game as part of the rotation, but not as the starter.
At least, not at first.
With USC expected to lean on its running game while the Trojans' new quarterback—whoever that might be—gains necessary game experience, either Madden or Davis will have likely put up some gaudy numbers early on.
And those statistics will likely relegate Redd to a backup position as he acquires the condition necessary to contribute as the starter.
Even when he finds that conditioning, will he be the featured back?
It will take a while, but when Redd gets his knee right, he will take back what was once rightfully his—namely, his starting position.
Of course, much of this depends on how well the Trojans are playing and the performance of the other backs in the rotation.
However, if USC is playing well and is sporting a good record deep into the season, Kiffin will look to his reliable senior for the tough yards in difficult situations.
And part of that equation is showing Redd his value to the team by giving him back his starting gig.
Despite the injury to Redd, which has cost him a game against Hawaii, the versatile running back will once again lead the Trojans in rushing in 2013.
Once healed—and especially as the season wears on—Redd will be the "go-to guy" for Kiffin in tough situations, which will allow him to pile up the yards later on.
This is due to an offensive line that will be hitting on all cylinders as they gain experience and because there should be gaping holes by the fifth game—when Redd is fully healthy. The senior running back will flourish.
With that being said, leading the team in rushing may not translate to a 1,000-yard season.
Last year, Silas Redd averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry while compiling 905 yards overall on the ground.
This year, Redd won't get as many yards overall, but he will be even better with his average per carry.
While this may sound counterintuitive, there are logical reasons for making this assumption.
In 2012, Redd's primary rotation partner was the now graduated Curtis McNeal, who carried the ball 116 times to Redd's 167 attempts. Following those two was D.J. Morgan, who managed only 41 rushing attempts last year.
This year is a different story. The Trojans have a stable of running backs, all of whom will get their shots as the year goes by.
Tre Madden has recovered from last year's knee injury and is looking great so far, as is true freshman Justin Davis.
D.J. Morgan remains the speedy "home run hitter," while Javorius (Buck) Allen has turned heads both in the spring and in fall practice sessions.
With any combination of those four running backs sharing the load early, Redd's overall numbers will take a hit. However, later on, he should have some big games.
Say what you will about him, but Silas Redd has a lot to prove in 2013.
Criticized for leaving Penn State after his sophomore year, Redd came West to play for what many thought was a national title contender. Instead, USC laid a colossal egg in 2012.
Now returning for his senior year, Redd is out to prove that his transfer to the Trojans was worthwhile and at the same time position himself for a move to the NFL in 2014.
To get there, he must show that the talent that made him so highly regarded not so long ago is still there and that he is capable of using it.
While missing the first game of this year against Hawaii is an auspicious start to say the least, ultimately, Silas Redd will show that he deserves to play on Sundays.
And in doing so, he will make a lot of Trojan fans very happy indeed.