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Add safety Patrick Nelson to list of Illini with torn ACLs

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Add safety Patrick Nelson to list of Illini with torn ACLs

This offseason has been brutal for the Illini on the injury front, and that's especially true for the incoming freshman class.

Freshman safety Patrick Nelson, a Chicago native and Hales Franciscan product, tweeted Wednesday night that he tore his ACL in practice.

[MORE BIG TEN: Terrelle Pryor OK'd to scrimmage with Browns at Ohio Stadium]

Nelson was rated as a three-star prospect out of high school and was one of the highest-rated recruits in this year's Illini class.

His comment about next season seems to imply that he'll miss the entire 2015 season, and that makes sense given the type of injury.

Nelson joins fellow freshman Dre Brown on the injury list. Brown, the running back out of DeKalb, was also one of the higher-rated members of Illinois' recruiting class. He tore his ACL prior to the Illini's spring game. At the time, head coach Tim Beckman said he anticipated a quicker recovery than most.

Additionally, sophomore wide receiver Mike Dudek tore his ACL during a practice. Arguably the Illini's best player, his loss hurts the team's prospects for the upcoming season the most. Initially, though many considered it wishful thinking, the Illini announced Dudek could return by October.

[MORE BIG TEN: Penn State adds former NFL coach Jim Haslett as football consultant]

Dudek tweeted his support for Nelson on Wednesday:

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.