Illinois wide receiver Mike Dudek likely won’t play this season, interim head coach Bill Cubit said during his weekly press conference Monday.
Dudek tore his ACL during spring practice and has been recovering ever since. It was a surprise to many when right after the injury occurred, former head coach Tim Beckman said that Dudek could return by October.
That assessment seemed a little too optimistic at the time, and that’s proven to be the case, as Cubit said Dudek is still weeks away from doing full football activities.
“I still think Mikey’s a couple weeks away. I know earlier there was a projection he’d get back a little bit early. It’s a six-month injury, and until you reach six months, you’re probably not going to be out there,” Cubit said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen, to be perfectly honest with you.”
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The loss of Dudek in the preseason was a huge blow, considering that as a freshman last season he was one of the Big Ten’s best receivers. He ranked second in the conference with 76 receptions and third in the league with 1,038 receiving yards. He turned in just the eighth 1,000-yard season in program history.
In Dudek’s absence, Geronimo Allison has been a go-to receiver for the Illini, currently ranking third in the Big Ten with 601 receiving yards. Allison had his own injury worries following a loss to Iowa two weekends ago, but Cubit said Monday that Allison is ready to play Saturday against Wisconsin after going through concussion protocols.
“Geronimo’s good,” Cubit said. “He went through all the tests, the protocol. It was a good week to get the bye week for him. He’ll be ready to go.”
Elsewhere in the receiving corps, Justin Hardee, who hasn’t played all season, was described as “very, very doubtful” for Saturday's game by Cubit, while it “doesn’t look good” that Marchie Murdock will play, according to Cubit.