Big Ten

Official word: Illini big man Mike Thorne Jr. out indefinitely

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Official word: Illini big man Mike Thorne Jr. out indefinitely

Mike Thorne Jr. is out indefinitely, the Illini announced Monday night.

After reports earlier in the day that Thorne could potentially miss the remainder of the season, Illinois announced that the big man had surgery to remove a torn meniscus and that he is out indefinitely.

Thorne was injured during Illinois' loss to Iowa State on Saturday, only playing 13 minutes in that game.

After transferring to Illinois from Charlotte this offseason, Thorne played well in the season's first seven games, averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds, recording double-doubles in two games.

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Thorne's absence in the frontcourt is a big deal for the Illini, who don't have anyone who matches his size. Increased minutes will likely fall to Maverick Morgan and Michael Finke.

The injury comes at a bad time for Illinois, which was finally getting over some of the many injuries that plagued the team during the preseason and the early portion of the season. Kendrick Nunn returned from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb a few weeks earlier than expected, Jalen Coleman-Lands is past the stress fracture in his leg he dealt with during the preseason, Leron Black is playing following surgery to repair a torn meniscus and Jaylon Tate returned from a brief absence following surgery on a dislocated finger. Tracy Abrams is out for the season following a preseason Achilles tear.

Thorne's injury sets the team's health progress back.

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.