Wisconsin got some tough injury news Thursday, announcing that running back Corey Clement will have surgery to repair a sports hernia and miss the next four to six weeks.
Clement, who was expected to take the baton from Melvin Gordon and turn in the next stellar season by a Badgers running back, carried the ball just eight times for 16 yards in the season-opener against Alabama and has sat out the team's last two games.
"Corey has been dealing with some issues since before the Alabama game," head coach Paul Chryst said in the announcement. "He has been undergoing treatment since that time and has seen some progress but not to the point where our medical staff is satisfied. So after consultation with our medical staff, Corey has decided to have surgery for a sports hernia.
"I feel bad for Corey that this is impacting his season because I know how hard he works and how important this football team is to him. We are very confident that he will make a full recovery after the surgery, and I know he will attack his rehab so he can get back on the field as soon as he can."
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Clement put up terrific numbers considering his roles as a third-stringer during his freshman season in 2013 and as a backup last season as a sophomore. He rushed for 547 yards and seven touchdowns on just 67 carries in 2013, playing behind both Gordon and James White. Last season behind Gordon, Clement rushed for 949 yards and nine touchdowns on just 147 attempts.
Those numbers had many expecting big things from the junior this season. But that season will be on hold for a month to a month and a half.
No. 22 Wisconsin plays Hawaii this weekend before starting Big Ten play with games against Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue, Illinois and Rutgers.
Clement's injury — plus a still-jelling offensive line — has hampered the typically dominant Wisconsin rushing game so far this season. The Badgers rank last in the Big Ten in rushing offense with 142.3 yards on the ground per game.
Like they have the past two weeks with Clement sidelined, Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale will take over at running back. Deal and Ogunbowale have combined for 60 carries, 316 yards and four touchdowns in wins over Miami (Ohio) and Troy.