Josh Ferguson will likely miss this week’s game at Iowa.
The Illinois starting running back suffered a shoulder injury early in Saturday’s 14-13 win over Nebraska that knocked him out for the remainder of the contest.
Monday, head coach Bill Cubit said it was unlikely that Ferguson would be active for the game against the Hawkeyes.
“I doubt very much he’ll play,” Cubit said. “I think he’s very, very doubtful.”
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Cubit didn’t have an answer to how long Ferguson will be sidelined, awaiting results of further examination.
“He’s going to see a doctor this afternoon to see exactly (what the problem is),” Cubit said. “It’s a shoulder. So we’ll find out a little bit more. Probably not as encouraged right now.”
Ferguson leads the team with 397 rushing yards on 71 carries and has 12 catches for an additional 78 receiving yards.
His absence could be a big deal against an Iowa defense that held Wisconsin under 100 rushing yards in its 10-6 win on Saturday.
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But freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn has played well for the Illini and had a big day against Nebraska, carrying the ball 24 times for 98 yards and posting the highest single-game rushing total for an Illinois true freshman since 2011. No. 3 running back Henry Enyenihi also figures to take on an expanded role with Ferguson sidelined.
“Like I tell our guys, anybody that steps on the field, you’ve got to play like you’re the No. 1. Fortunately Ke’Shawn has been playing really well for us,” Cubit said. “I think it’s the next guy where it’s going to affect. We’ve got to get Henry really ready to go.
“You’ve got to have a plan. This week here, we were trying to put our best players out there, and we figured Ke’Shawn and Josh are two of our best. That thing went out the window after 10 plays. And so you’ve got to adjust.”