Just a couple days into preseason practice, the Spartans received some really bad news.
The team announced Wednesday night that linebacker Ed Davis suffered a knee injury during practice and will miss the entirety of the 2015 season. He will require surgery.
[MORE BIG TEN: Northwestern's Sean McEvilly retires after repeated injuries]
"We're so disappointed for Ed Davis, and his presence in the lineup will be missed," head coach Mark Dantonio said in the team's announcement. "Ed is a tremendous playmaker and a solid leader. He will still have an important role on this team, and he might have the opportunity to qualify for a sixth year of eligibility. Our program has faced adversity before, so now it's time to adopt the 'next man up' mentality. Ed's season-ending injury provides others with an opportunity to have a positive impact on this team."
It's a big blow for Michigan State, which loses one of the best players on the defensive side of the ball.
Davis started 12 of the Spartans' 13 games last season and played in 40 games in his Michigan State career, making 80 tackles and 11 sacks. Projected to be among the Big Ten's best linebackers this season, he was included on the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, handed out to the nation's best defensive player.
As Dantonio mentioned, it's possible Davis could seek a medical waiver and be granted a sixth year of eligibility, which would allow him to return next season.
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 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.