Kyle Whittingham has had to answer some variation of the same question seemingly every week this season: “Is Player X available for the next game?”

Utah has dealt with injuries to just about every player of significance on the offensive side of the football. The latest is to tight end Dalton Kincaid, who left Saturday’s 63-21 win over Colorado before halftime with an injury. Ahead of Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game against USC, Whittingham had good news on that front Monday when he met with reporters.

“We expect him to play,” Whittingham said. “It’s not a guarantee, but we’ll see what happens.”

Kincaid had five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Buffs. His final play of the game came on a 29-yard score over the middle when Kincaid went up to snag a pass from Cam Rising in the back of the endzone and came down hard in between two CU defenders.

Whittingham confirmed after the game that the current injury is unrelated to the one Kincaid suffered at Washington State on Oct. 27. That shoulder injury kept him out of the Arizona game on Nov. 5 and had him somewhat limited in the Utes’ win over Stanford on Nov. 12.

The Utes need all hands on deck to keep pace with USC in the title fight. But the Utes are also the only team to beat the Trojans so far this season.

Kincaid was a beast in that effort, catching 16 balls for 234 yards and a touchdown in Utah’s 43-42 win over the Trojans on Oct. 15. With Brant Kuithe limited to four games this year, Kincaid has been a focal point of the offense. He ranks eighth among all Pac-12 players in receiving yardage this season with 850. His eight touchdowns are tied for the most of any Pac-12 player.

He has at least five receptions in four of the Utes’ last five contests, beginning with the USC game.

“I don’t want to make it sound like he wasn’t good at the onset, but we’ve just been featuring him more and more, and he’s made more and more plays,” Whittingham said. “You saw the catch he made that he got dinged up on in the Colorado game. That was spectacular. It’s just a matter of continuing to maximize his skillset and understanding how incredible that skillset is. I still can’t believe he’s not on the (Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist list) which is crazy. … He’s a terrific talent, he is a guy that every week we need to target him a bunch of times.”

Whittingham also said they’re hopeful standout cornerback Clark Phillips III, who sat out the Colorado game, will be able to play against USC. According to local reports from the game, Phillips went through pregame warmups and then emerged just before kickoff in street clothes.

“We hope so,” Whittingham said of Phillips. “Can’t say definitively right now.”

If it’s any indication, the Pac-12’s interceptions leader (with six) is looking forward to the game.