New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas lies on the field...

New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas lies on the field as teammates Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Michael Coe and Aaron Ross and trainers gather around him after he was injured on a play during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears. (Aug. 22, 2011) Credit: AP

Pete Carroll is coaching on the other side of the continent, but he keeps track of his USC boys out here on the East Coast as much as he can. So what was his reaction when the only remaining Trojan on the Giants’ roster, Terrell Thomas, was lost for the season with a torn ACL in a preseason game?

“It broke our hearts,” Carroll said on today’s conference call. “We are so close to those guys as you can imagine. Finding those guys when they are juniors in high school and taking them all the way through their careers, you get connected to those guys. That sent a big shock wave to all the networks of the SC guys still involved in ball. We sent a message out to him letting him know we still love him and that he will be back. You hate to see your guys get hurt.”

This isn’t the first time Carroll has seen Thomas injured. He also tore ligaments in his knee while playing for him in college. Carroll said Thomas recovered “beautifully” from that first injury.

“He is a tremendous worker,” Carroll said. “He was diligent about the rehab and never let it become a factor. He went through the normal cycle of it and was ahead of schedule the whole time because of the way he applied himself. I am sure he will do the same now.”

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