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Todd Graham: ASU could have Kalen Ballage against USC

Arizona State's Kalen Ballage, left, is pushed out of bounds by Duke's Terrance Als after a long kickoff return during the fourth quarter of the Sun Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, in El Paso, Texas. The return enabled the Sun Devils to score the go-ahead touchdown late in the game. Arizona State won 36-31. (AP Photo/Victor Calzada)

Arizona State fans may have something to cheer about.

During his Monday press conference, Todd Graham told reporters he is hopeful that running back Kalen Ballage will play in the Sun Devils’ Pac-12 conference opener against USC on Saturday.

Ballage sat out the Sun Devils first three games after coming down with an illness before the season opener against Texas A&M in Houston.

The sophomore was anticipated to play a large role for the Sun Devils as one of ASU’s primary running backs. He had also earned reps in practice on special teams and on defense at Devil-backer.

Moving forward, Ballage is unlikely to be used on defense because of conditioning concerns.

If Ballage does return this week, the Sun Devils will still be at less than full strength against the Trojans. Graham added that starting wide receiver Devin Lucien is doubtful to play against USC.

Lucien injured his left leg in Friday’s win against New Mexico.

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