USC's already-disappointing season took a daunting turn Thursday. The Trojans announced highly-touted freshman phenom Isaiah Collier is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after suffering a hand injury. The No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2023 and the crown jewel of the No. 3-ranked recruiting class in the country suffered the injury in the Trojans' 72-64 loss to Washington State Wednesday. 

Collier has mostly lived up to the hype this season even as USC has struggled. He leads the team in assists and ranks second on the squad in scoring, averaging 15.4 points, 4.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 50.6% from the field.

USC finished 3-0 this summer in a three-game European tour with Collier starring as a downhill playmaker and finisher, which helped propel preseason expectations for the Trojans to new heights. USC quickly discovered it would not dominate during the regular season like it did in its exhibition games overseas, though, falling 70-60 at home to UC Irvine in November and losing six of its final eight games to close out the 2023 calendar year.

With USC struggling to an 8-8 overall record and a 2-3 start in Pac-12 play, Collier could return in mid-to-late February if his recovery goes as expected. However, if USC continues to flounder, rushing back from a serious hand injury may not be in Collier's best long-term interests as he prepares for the 2024 draft.

In a wide-open 2024 NBA Draft class, Collier ranks No. 3 on the CBS Sports Big Board and No. 1 among point guards. His 29.9% assist rate ranks seventh nationally among all freshmen and his feel as a true floor general puts him as a viable candidate to be drafted No. 1 overall later this summer.