Back in late September, Wisconsin running back Corey Clement was shelved 4-6 weeks due to a sports hernia injury. Prior to being set aside, he rushed eight times for 16 yards during the Badgers’ 35-17 season-opening loss to Alabama.
On Monday, media members asked Wisconsin coach Paul Chyrst about the junior’s potential return. Some thought that he had the chance to see action during Week 7’s 24-7 win over Purdue. However, Clement–who was dressed and ready–did not see the field for the Badgers (5-2, 2-1).
He may or may not play this week versus Illinois.
“I think with Corey, he’s ahead of what people thought, and he was excited to be back in uniform; I think that’s part of it,” Chryst said, via transcript. “He was one of the first guys onto the field and looking forward to him practicing this week and really seeing how it goes for him.
There is a lot of steps that go into it, and, Corey hasn’t — played a little bit in the Alabama game, hasn’t played for a while, so looking forward to getting him working. He’ll know, we’ll know, and it will be good when we get him there.
There is still no guarantees on the timetable or how it goes. We’ve just got to keep taking it day-by-day and helping him through it.”
Without Clement, Wisconsin has averaged an un-Wisconsin-like 164.3 rushing yards per game. The Badgers are known for owning the ground attack, so it’s surprise to see them sitting at No. 11 in the Big Ten. And 10 touchdowns–only 10 touchdowns via the rush.
Talk about a team in need of a spark from the backfield. That could be Clement, who rushed 147 times for 949 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014. However, he’ll have to clear mental and physical barriers before returning to full form.
“I think there is some physical parts of it, too. The Alabama game, and then tried to let it calm down so that’s relative inactivity, and then it’s not calming down, so now we need to have the surgery,” said Chryst. “So it’s getting himself back. So the physical component is getting yourself back into shape, and then there is back into football playing shape.
And I think there is a confidence that comes with probably both; what was injured and (being) comfortable and therefore confident in your playing, so I would think there is probably — I would say it’s as much as much physical as it is mental, I would think.”
Wisconsin will look to retain second-place in the Big Ten West when it faces Illinois on Saturday. The 4-2 (2-1) Illini are coming off a 29-20 loss to 7-0 Iowa.
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