Gable, a sophomore, is hoping to have the operation now, receive a medical redshirt for this season and be ready for spring football in full health. “It was tough,” he said a day after saying he didn’t like surgery. “But it’s so I can get it over with and I’ll be ready for spring ball and next year.” Coach Pete Carroll estimated that it could be eight weeks before Gable would be able to start rehabilitation. “It ain’t going to be that long,” Gable said. “I think I could be back in a couple weeks if I wanted to.” Gable had met with the training staff before he brought the issue to Carroll. “It was kind of like the unspoken topic,” Carroll said. “He was afraid to talk about it. He kept saying he was OK, but the trainers knew that he wasn’t and we could see he was dealing with it. “He’s done admirably everything he could possibly do. He’s rehabbed everything he can do and it won’t go away. To wait another week or two weeks or three weeks and hope it gets better, it’s not happening. “So in this case we can hopefully save his season, get his year back and get him well and back to 100 percent.” Gable said he was not forced into the decision, either by the coaches or his mother. “They were saying it was up to me,” Gable said. “My mom said do anything … she doesn’t like surgery, but if that’s going to get me better for next year, that’s OK.” The once-deep USC backfield has taken some hits as the No. 2 Trojans (4-0, 2-0 Pacific-10) prepare to take on Stanford (1-3, 0-3) Saturday at the Coliseum. Leading rusher Stafon Johnson sat out practice again with a bruised foot. Afraid to look ahead Left tackle Sam Baker said he doesn’t envy whoever gets to make the decision of which player to start at center if Kris O’Dowd returns this season from a dislocated kneecap. Senior Matt Spanos is holding the spot at the moment. “That’s going to be a tough decision, but I know they’ll make the right one,” Baker said. Also on the line, Tiny Malu has been receiving most of the work at left guard in place of injured starter Chilo Rachal. Though he’s a senior who has been in the program since 2004, he hasn’t yet heard if he will start over redshirt freshman Zack Heberer (San Pedro High). “All I know is I’m getting myself as ready as I can be and if they need me, I’ll be ready,” Malu said. Hurting Cornerback Cary Harris (shoulder) was cleared to practice without hitting and worked out with the team. Whether or not he plays Saturday could be a game-time decision. Cornerback Mozique McCurtis, who would replace Harris, sat out Wednesday to rest an old knee injury. Carroll said McCurtis would be ready to start if Harris doesn’t. Special guest Former UCLA basketball coach Steve Lavin, currently a broadcaster, was a visitor to practice. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Phil Collin STAFF WRITER C.J. Gable looked at a few reporters Wednesday afternoon with the same disdain he apparently holds for surgeons. The USC tailback said he had indeed decided to have surgery to repair a groin injury that has affected him since offseason training and into this season, despite the fact he had gained 143 yards on 13 carries (11 yards per carry).