Big Ten

Report: Illini big man Mike Thorne Jr. could be done for year with meniscus tear


Report: Illini big man Mike Thorne Jr. could be done for year with meniscus tear

This isn't an injury bug, it's an injury monster.

The Illini, plagued by injuries during the preseason and into the beginning of this season, are reportedly facing another crushing blow, as CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb reported Monday morning that big man Mike Thorne Jr. has a meniscus tear and will likely miss the remainder of the season.

CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein later reported that Thorne was set for surgery Monday and that it was still possible Thorne could return this season.

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The Illini were just starting to get back to what approximated full strength, with Kendrick Nunn returning a couple weeks earlier than expected from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, Jalen Coleman-Lands playing after dealing with a stress fracture in his leg in the preseason, Leron Black back in action after tearing his meniscus in the preseason and Jaylon Tate returned after having surgery to repair a dislocated finger.

But this latest blow gives the Illini their second season-ending injury of the year, as Thorne would join point guard Tracy Abrams as out for the year. Abrams tore his Achilles tendon in the preseason.

Thorne was playing well after transferring in from Charlotte this offseason. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds in the team's first seven games, recording a pair of double-doubles in losses to North Florida and Chattanooga. He was on his way to another Saturday against Iowa State, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds in just 13 minutes, but he left after suffering an injury.

Thorne is Illinois' tallest player at 6-foot-11, and he was playing well as the team's starting center, starting in the front court alongside Black. If Thorne is done for the season — or any significant length of time — it will be up to forwards Maverick Morgan and Michael Finke to take over those minutes.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.