Big Ten

Illini guard Jaylon Tate has surgery on finger, recovery time unknown

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Illini guard Jaylon Tate has surgery on finger, recovery time unknown

Illinois head coach John Groce provided an update on junior guard Jaylon Tate's status Saturday afternoon, but one big question went left unanswered.

Groce released a statement saying that Tate had surgery to repair the finger Tate dislocated in Friday night's season-opening loss to North Florida, but the Groce did not say how much time Tate would miss while recovering from the surgery.

"We appreciate everyone who has reached out regarding Jaylon's health after his injury in Friday's game," Groce's statement read. "He underwent surgery last night in Champaign to repair an open dislocation in his right little finger and is currently resting following the procedure. Jaylon plans to attend Sunday's game to support his teammates. We look forward to having him back with us."

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Saying that Tate "plans to attend Sunday's game to support his teammates" obviously informs that Tate won't play Sunday, but his status beyond that is unknown. He figures to miss some time while recovering, but it's unknown how much time.

Tate started Friday's game and played 11 minutes before exiting with the dislocated finger. He took four shots, missing all four, scoring no points and handing out one assist.

Tate was expected to serve as the team's primary point guard this season with senior Tracy Abrams losing a second straight season to a preseason injury. But if Tate is out for a significant amount of time, the Illini could be on their third starting point guard — who, in all likelihood, would be graduate transfer Khalid Lewis, who played 32 minutes Friday — just two games into the season.

Illinois plays North Dakota State on Sunday afternoon in Springfield.

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.