Status of Scheelhaase Yet to be Determined

CHAMPAIGN - The good news, according to coach Tim Beckman, is Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase didn't suffer a high ankle sprain against Western Michigan Saturday.

That type of sprain can linger for weeks and sometimes months. However, Scheelhaase's injury, described as "dealing with his ankle" by Beckman, did limit him in practice Sunday and is keeping his status for this weekend's matchup with Arizona State in question.

"He was out (practicing Sunday), definitely not full-go, but you know I know Nathan is going to do whatever he can to be there on Saturday," Beckman said.

Scheelhaase suffered the injury early in the second half of Illinois' 24-7 win over the Broncos. He was 11 of 18 passing with 126 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He added 21 yards and one score rushing.

Backup Reilly O'Toole finished the game, completing 2 of 3 passes for seven yards.

Should Scheelhaase be unavailable this weekend, both O'Toole and third-string quarterback Miles Osei will be considered for playing time, Beckman said.

"Well I mean both of them have been repping the same amount," Beckman said. "We're not a the (starters) get six reps and the (backups) only get two. We do the exact same things. Reilly's gotten the exact same reps and so has Miles. Both of those two young men are going to be prepared this week to play in this football game, so we'll see how they do and how they progress."

While Scheelhaase has 27 starts to his credit and is often cited by his peers as a leader, center Graham Pocic said the offensive mindset won't change if a different quarterback is in the huddle.

"Not really, no," he said. "You know it's going to come down to the plays the coaches put in and we block the play no matter who is playing quarterback."

Much of the decision to play or sit Scheelhaase will be determined by the amount of practice time he logs this week.

The plan is to continue to evaluate the ankle each day, with Beckman, co-offensive coordinators Chris Beatty and Billy Gonzales, the training staff and Scheelhaase himself making the final decision by committee.

"I'm a firm believer in practice," Beckman. "You've got to go through some practice, at least Wednesday's practice because I've found that when you're not ready and prepared, come Saturday if you haven't practiced you're going to have a hard time. We're going to see how that thing progresses."

Monday afternoon Scheelhaase, O'Toole, running back Donovonn Young attended a soccer game on campus together. According to Young, the team is carrying on business as usual.

"It doesn't matter," Young said. "Nothing changes on the field, off the field, everything is the same. We're just wishing Nate back to full strength by Saturday."

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