Smith mum on Dudek injury

Smith mum on Dudek injury

CHAMPAIGN ­— The first two practices of the spring, Illinois had star receiver Mikey Dudek on the field. But not on Tuesday.

“He missed practice (Tuesday) with a knee injury,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said.

Smith didn’t elaborate.

“Nothing beyond that,” the coach said. “Just as a general rule guys, I don’t talk an awful lot about injuries. I’ll tell you the injury that they had. He has a knee injury, and we held him out of practice (Tuesday).”

The Illini take two days off before returning to workouts on Friday afternoon. Smith said he will deal with Dudek’s status “day-by-day.”

A healthy Dudek is important to the Illini this season. In 2014, Dudek broke the Illinois freshman receiving records with 76 catches for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns.

He had just the fourth 200-yard game in program history (against Purdue) and earned Freshman All-American honors.

His 2015 ended before it started. Dudek suffered a torn ACL during spring practice on April 8, 2015 in a non-contact drill. He rehabbed throughout the spring and summer, but during the season Dudek and the coaches decided he would take a redshirt. The sophomore from Neuqua Valley was cleared to participate in practices this spring, but it’s unclear how much time he might miss from this latest injury.

If Dudek is out for an extended period, Illinois will be short on playmakers at the position. Dez Cain, Malik Turner and Dionte Taylor are the leading returnees, catching a combined 114 passes in 2015. Cain had 53 grabs for 492 yards and one touchdown. Justin Hardee also returns after missing 2015 with a foot injury that caused him to redshirt.

The 2016 recruiting class includes two incoming receivers: Floridians M.J. McGriff and Dom Thieman.

Tuesday’s practice schedule was altered, with the session moving from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Smith explained the change.

“It’s not ideal to get our players up that early,” Smith said. “We kept working and looking for a window where we could get the majority of our players out here so no one has to get out here that early. It’s a lot better flow once you can practice in the afternoon.”

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Moonpie wrote on April 06, 2016 at 8:04 am

Ah, the old Lovie Dovie condescension and arrogance -- already bubbling up: 

“Just as a general rule guys, I don’t talk an awful lot about injuries. I’ll tell you the injury that they had. He has a knee injury, and we held him out of practice (Tuesday).”

It's as if Lovie Dovie is -- Tatelike.

jjohnson wrote on April 06, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Great to have Lovie as coach; I think all who love Illinois and Illinois football are glad he is here.

JustAnOpinion wrote on April 07, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Ahh.  Just like the good ol' days with Bears post-practice interviews.  You can't say he is not consistent.  Get used to it everyone.

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