Big Ten

Spartans 'legend' Jalen Watts-Jackson back in East Lansing after hip surgery

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Spartans 'legend' Jalen Watts-Jackson back in East Lansing after hip surgery

"The man, the legend is back," Mark Dantonio said with a smile during his weekly press conference Tuesday.

He was referring to Jalen Watts-Jackson, the safety who picked up Blake O'Neill's fumbled snap on a punt and returned it 38 yards for a game-winning touchdown in Michigan State's all-time great win over Michigan last weekend.

Watts-Jackson scored on one of the most improbable plays you'll ever see in a college football game and then improbably suffered a serious injury. He broke and dislocated his hip and was taken to an Ann Arbor hospital, where he had surgery.

Dantonio was asked to provide an update Tuesday and informed reporters that Watts-Jackson is back in East Lansing but won't be playing any football for a while.

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"Jalen got back last night, yesterday afternoon, so he was in the offices and training room," Dantonio said. "The update is it's all set, his hip has been repaired, set. He has to stay off of it for three months, so it's a long process. And then after that, he'll be able to start rehabbing it. I'm not sure how long that takes him out, probably takes him out for spring, possibly, as well, but we'll see. It just depends on how he handles the rehab. But he was in good spirits."

Watts-Jackson shared his own message Monday on Instagram:

"Very bittersweet end to my season. This morning I had surgery on my hip putting me out for the season. But if I got the chance I would do it all over again for my brothers. God has a plan for everyone, and I will not question any obstacles I encounter on my journey. #spartanswill"

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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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.