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April 23, 2011MADISON - Curt Phillips, who underwent a surgical procedure Friday afternoon to repair a torn meniscus in his twice surgically repaired knee, will miss the entire 2011 season.
Head coach Bret Bielema made the announcement shortly after Wisconsin's annual spring game inside Camp Randall Stadium.
"Basically his knee didn't heal the way we projected or the way he wanted," Bielema said. "He's going to have to go in for another procedure at some point after school is out. He'll be out for the season."
The news comes two days after BadgerBlitz.com originally reported the fourth-year quarterback suffered a torn meniscus with a strong likelihood of having his third torn ACL in the past 13 months coinciding it.
Bielema didn't specifically say it was Phillips' ACL again, but he intimated as much.
"I'm not going to talk specifics," Bielema said. "But it's something that will take him away for the season."
At this juncture, Phillips still plans on pursuing his football career. He will likely petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility and resume playing when his knee allows it.
"He's already thinking about his options," Bielema said. "I haven't even had a chance to talk to him since yesterday's surgery. (It's) amazing the resolve that he has and just his mental toughness and awareness. It was kind of reassuring to him because overall he didn't feel the knee was right with where it was at.
"This kind of gives him some answers for him to move forward."
Unfortunately, it leaves an already young and inexperienced quarterback position in dire straights. Phillips will still be around the program and still be a vital asset to the team, but not having him suited up hits home for the rest of the players at the position.
"It's devastating," Budmayr said. "Not only do we lose such a great player on our team, but he's a very close friend. You hate to see a close friend go through that one time, even twice. Now he's going through it for the third time. We've just got to be there for him. I know Curt and you guys know Curt is a strong kid.
"He'll come back from this even stronger than before."
Aside from the Phillips update and the news of Marquis Mason suffering a similar injury, the rest of the team came out of Saturday's scrimmage pretty unscathed. Second-string offensive lineman Dallas Lewallen was shaken up during the second half of the scrimmage, but he left the field under his own power.
"I was worried that it was something," Bielema said. "But it looks to be something that had to do with his kneecap. If that's all that it is it should be something that's just a matter of a couple of weeks."
-Junior fullback Bradie Ewing did not participate in Saturday's scrimmage. He suffered a stinger earlier in the week and was sat for precautionary reasons.
"All the X-Ray's checked out negative," Bielema said. "He could have played today but we just didn't feel it was (necessary). I'd rather have him rested and ready for the fall."
-Freshman tight end/fullback Sherard Cadogan and defensive tackles Jordan Kohout and Eriks Briedis did not participate as they each recover from recent concussions.
BORLAND MAKES AN IMPACT:
Since punter Brad Nortman was as active as he was today - the senior punted 12 times with an average of 38 yards-per-punt - Bielema thought he would offer his veteran kicker a break.
So enters sophomore linebacker Chris Borland. The linebacker was shelved for the entirety of spring camp as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but he did get an opportunity to punt. And he punted it 32 yards, too boot.
"I walked over and said, 'Do you want to punt,'" Bielema said. "He said, 'I got no cleats' and I said, 'You're just punting. I don't need you to run a drill.'"
Borland is expected to be back 100 percent by the start of August's fall camp.
HENGEL'S BIG DAY:
Since Ewing was sidelined with a lingering stinger, backup fullback Jason Hengel, a walk-on freshman, had a very eventful day in front of approximately 10,000 fans. He finished with a game-high four receptions for 62 yards.
"He kind of reminds me a little bit of Bill Rentmeester when Billy was younger," Bielema said. "He catches the ball really nicely. He got winded today because he got a lot of reps. We had been planning on playing Bradie, Sherard and Hengel at fullback. But Sherard and Bradie were out so that put him out there.
"I bet nobody got as many reps as he did."
Don't let Philip Welch's makes from 61 and 58 yards during rapid-fire kicking drills fool you. Yes, he was very sharp during those segments, but during live-game portions of Saturday's practice, Welch failed to connect on any of his three attempts.
"The wind was a little funky today," Welch said. "They were good kicks, but they ended up curving out. Two of them I thought were over the uprights so they could have gone either way. I felt good about today."
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Bielema on Joel Stave's piano playing ability:
"He's been on campus for all of two weeks and proceeds to play Piano Man or some song and sings it like it's a gold album. It was unbelievable. Then he just keeps playing and goes, 'Any requests?' I'm like, who is this kid we brought in here. I was just amazed that he sat there and played the piano for 15 minutes and was taking songs and cracking jokes. All of our guys were looking around and I was looking around. He's just one of those guys that has a little bit of a presence and a little bit of 'it' to him that's hard to replace."