Big Ten

Will injury lead to redshirt for Badgers' Corey Clement?

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Will injury lead to redshirt for Badgers' Corey Clement?

With Corey Clement slated to miss a month or month-and-a-half long chunk of the middle of this season, the question of a redshirt is a perfectly valid one.

Clement did great things in two seasons playing behind Melvin Gordon. Supposed to ascend to the next great Wisconsin running back this season, a nagging groin injury that turned out to be a sports hernia that will require surgery, the Badgers announced Thursday, limited him to just eight carries in the season-opener and knocked him out of the past two games. With just that handful of rushing attempts to his season — and with that number set to stay there until late October or early November at the earliest — a medical redshirt might be the way to go so Wisconsin gets two more seasons of Clement and Clement gets two more seasons of college football in 2016 and 2017.

According to Clement, it sounds like a possibility. But the running back alluded to the fact that the decision on whether to sit out the remainder of 2015 will depend on what the Badgers do in his absence. If he can come back and provide an extra spark for a team competing for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, it might be worth it to forget the redshirt. If Clement's absence causes Wisconsin to tumble down the Big Ten West standings, maybe keeping Clement on the sidelines would be a smarter move.

That was the junior's thinking when he addressed reporters Thursday.

“The goal I came in with is to be a true freshman, true sophomore, true junior and never be redshirted or take a medical. Who knows? If I come back feeling 100 percent and I feel like going — who knows? Redshirt might be there, might not," he said. "But that’s something I have to talk to (head coach Paul) Chryst and (running backs coach John) Settle about. What’s the best decision, just to hold me out or just see what I can do? If my team keeps winning throughout the Big Ten and I’m able to come back, then I think it’s going to be a strong possibility that I do come back and keep playing with my teammates.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Badgers' Corey Clement to have hernia surgery, out four to six weeks]

But what if they don't keep winning?

“That’s another story," Clement said. "Got to be smart with that. If the chances are unlikely for us to get back to the Big Ten championship, then I might have to — who knows? — tone it down and just take a redshirt or try to get my year back.”

So, have we seen the last of Clement in 2015? Obviously, the majority of that depends on Clement's recovery. But looking at the Badgers' schedule, it's very possible they could be heading toward another spot in the conference title game. After this weekend's game against Hawaii, Big Ten play opens with games against Iowa and Nebraska before an easy stretch of conference games against Purdue, Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland. It could set up all-important games against Northwestern and Minnesota to determine the West champ.

Clement could make a big difference in those games. And it's then that the redshirt question will be a very big one.

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.