By Scott Wolf STAFF WRITER USC’s secondary was dealt a potentially critical blow Monday when it was learned cornerback Josh Pinkard probably has torn ligaments in his knee, sources said. Officially, USC coach Pete Carroll said Pinkard was out for the Nebraska game and would need more examination by team doctors. “There’s more in there than what we thought,” Carroll said. But sources said Pinkard tore ligaments in his left knee, the opposite knee in which he tore ligaments last season. Pinkard redshirted last year and this injury would be costly because he would have just one year of eligibility remaining. He was considered so impressive in training camp at cornerback that he switched from safety and was named the starter ahead of Cary Harris, who started 11 games last season. “Josh is an incredible athlete and he seems to be a more dominant athlete on our practice field at corner,” Carroll said. What noise? Traveling to Nebraska is considered one of the toughest road experiences in college football, but Carroll sounded unfazed by the challenge. “We’ve dealt with this for years,” he said, referring to recent trips to Arkansas, Notre Dame, Kansas State and perhaps the loudest crowd, a game against Virginia Tech at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. To help prepare for Nebraska, USC is expected to pipe in crowd noise at practice this week, a Carroll standard whenever the Trojans play a tough road game. As if a trip to Nebraska is not enough, ESPN will bring its College GameDay show to Lincoln. USC is the first team ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press top-25 poll to visit Nebraska since 1978, when top-ranked Oklahoma was upset by the fourth-ranked Huskers. Tailback rotation C.J. Gable will start again against Nebraska with Stafon Johnson the backup. Chauncey Washington, who missed the Idaho game with a sprained shoulder, will try to get cleared by doctors today, but is expected to play sparingly. Freshman Joe McKnight should also see more time because his sprained knee feels better. “We’re hoping to use him,” Carroll said. “He’s looking better out there.” Green hopeful Tailback Broderick Green, who suffered a stress fracture in his foot, said he hopes to play this season even though he will be out at least another month. “No, I’m not going to redshirt,” Green said. “I’ll have the boot off my foot in a couple weeks, so I think I’ll be playing.” Quick comeback? Center Matt Spanos, who tore a triceps muscle before the Idaho game, will try to practice this week, but is not expected to play. Back to grass USC practiced on FieldTurf on Monday even though Carroll disdains it. “I can’t get used to liking it, but the players don’t seem to mind,” he said. The Trojans return to Howard Jones Field today and Wednesday. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!