Heitz, Smoot to Miss Spring Game

One mainstay and a potential starter will miss Saturday's spring day.

CHAMPAIGN — A mainstay in the Illinois line-up and a potential breakthrough youngster will miss Saturday's spring game.

Senior offensive lineman Michael Heitz, a starter for 33 career games, and up-and-comer in the sophomore DJ Smoot will both be on the sideline when the Orange & Blue game takes place at 2 p.m. Heitz had surgery to repair his thumb, injured in last week's scrimmage in Springfield. He'll miss six weeks and was seen at Thursday's practice in a cast.

It was deemed best by the training staff to, "just get it (done) now," according to coach Tim Beckman.

Meanwhile, Smoot's elbow injury won't require surgery. He first experienced trouble before spring break and couldn't shake the pain after returning to practice.

He was in a green, no-contact jersey on Thursday to avoid any further damage.

"Of course I'd like DJ to play as much as he can," Beckman said. "I think DJ has really stepped up his game. He's put on good weight, gained about 30 pounds. He's had a good spring. Of course you want to keep your kids healthy, but we're not going to risk anything with the elbow."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories