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September 26, 2011MADISON - Apparently the bruise that knocked junior strong safety Shelton Johnson out of Saturday's game against South Dakota wasn't nearly as serious as doctors originally thought.
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said Johnson would be able to return to practice either Tuesday or Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's showdown against Nebraska.
"If Shelton can run and do the things physically that you need to do I wouldn't have any hesitation to put him in there with very little practice," Bielema said. "Just because this would have been his fifth start and he's pretty comfortable."
Following UW's 59-10 win over South Dakota Bielema mentioned how Johnson might have had to stay at a local hospital for precautionary reasons just because doctors felt his lower left leg was bruised to the point of internal bleeding.
Should Johnson not be able to play in Saturday's much-hyped contest with Nebraska, Bielema wouldn't have any qualms starting sophomore Dezmen Southward.
"Dez was ahead of Shelton during fall camp," Bielema said. "Then it kind of flipped when Dez had an ankle issue. That gave Shelton the opportunity. If Shelton isn't practicing by Thursday, as long as Dez continues to do what he's doing, I wouldn't have any problems starting Dez and letting him play out there a little bit."
Other injury notes:
-Senior right tackle Josh Oglesby has been cleared to practice and will be with the team the entire week during Nebraska preparation. Oglesby, a fifth-year senior, missed the entire game against South Dakota while recovering from a knee injury suffered the week prior.
-Sophomore defensive end Pat Muldoon has returned to practice. He missed each of UW's past two games with a dislocated elbow.
-Senior kicker Philip Welch is expected to resume kicking during Wednesday's practice. Bielema said there is a chance Welch could return to game action 'in some capacity' for Nebraska.
-Freshman defensive tackle Kyle Costigan, as indicated following Saturday's game, will be out for an elongated amount of time. Bielema lumped him in there with Devin Smith when talking about his prognosis.
Nick Toon, with seven catches, 155 yards and two touchdowns, received plenty of headlines following his performance against the Coyotes. While his head coach Bret Bielema publicly addressed his play Monday afternoon, he did not reward him with offensive MVP.
"Obviously a lot of guys had a good game," Bielema said. "But Abby (Jared Abbrederis) is doing a lot of unbelievable things all over the fields. Especially as a double returner."
That is Abbrederis' second such distinction this season. He split offensive MVP honors with Toon following UW's thrashing of NIU in week three.
Defensively, senior defensive tackle Patrick Butrym nabbed the honor.
"He had his best game," Bielema said.
Butrym logged his first sack of the season against South Dakota.
Then there was freshman Derek Landisch. One of the smaller players on the UW roster played pretty big against the Coyotes. Big enough to earn special teams MVP.
"He's been outstanding for us," Bielema said. "He's grown in every game in his role. He's really doing some good things."
Senior reserve wide receiver Chukwuma Offor and linebacker Cameron Ontko nabbed offensive and defensive scout team MVP's for their play leading into the South Dakota game.
-Saturday's meeting against Nebraska will mark the first time two top-10 teams will square off inside Camp Randall since 1962. That's when No. 3 Wisconsin topped No. 5 Minnesota 14-9.
-Wisconsin fell from No. 6 in the Associated Press poll to No. 7. They remained at No. 7 in the coaches poll.
-ESPN's College Gameday will be live in Madison for Saturday's festivities. UW officials are still solidifying a location for the set.
The following is the audio file from the presser: