Illini lose Henry Enyenihi, Tim Clary to injury

Injury-ravaged Illini offense suffers more losses

CHAMPAIGN - Bill Cubit's coping mechanism is just to laugh at his misfortune.

"Somebody up there doesn't like me right now," the Illinois interim coach joked on Monday.

His misfortune? His injury-ravaged Illinois offense suffered even more attition.

Backup running back Henry Enyenihi will miss Saturday's game at Purdue (2-6, 1-3 Big Ten) with a knee strain and H-Back Tim Clary -- who missed several games with a hand injury only to return with a club over the injury, limiting his effectiveness -- may miss more time with a leg injury, Cubit said at Monday's weekly press conference. 

"It's football," Cubit said. "Next guy up there."

With Enyenihi out, the Illini (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) could be down to just one of its top five running backs. Freshmen Dre Brown (torn ACL) and Reggie Corbin (torn labrum) have missed the season with injuries and senior starter Josh Ferguson has missed the last month with an AC sprain in his shoulder.

Ferguson's status for Saturday's game in West Lafayette is still to be determined

"Josh will go through practice today," Cubit said. "We'll see how he really feels. By Wednesday, we'll probably have a pretty good idea where he's at."

If Ferguson can't play at Purdue, even more of the load lies on freshman Ke'Shawn Vaughn's shoulders. Right now, his backup is walk-on Cam Tucker, who had two carries for 18 yards at Penn State.

"You just keep adding more responsibility to (Vaughn)," Cubit said of Vaughn, who has 485 rushing yards and 95 receiving yards this season. "The pass protection against Wisconsin was outstanding, one of the best I've seen for a back here. This week, he was not very good. You don't know what goes on in the mind of a true freshman."

With Clary out again, the Illini are missing its top two tight ends. Junior starter Tyler White is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL against Wisconsin. With just Andrew Davis and Nathan Echard available, the Illini have relied more heavily on four wide receiver sets

"Hopefully we can get him back, but I'm not sure that's going to happen," Cubit said. "So at tight end, we're down to really two that can actually suit up. We'll just have to keep on finding ways. That's all you can do."

Cubit was optimistic about junior left tackle Austin Schmidt, who left Saturday's game at Penn State with an injury.

"I think he's going to be OK as of right now," Cubit said. "As long as he doesn't have any more setbacks."

Illinois is now missing two of its best receivers (Mikey Dudek and Justin Hardee), its top two tight ends and four of its top five running backs.

Cubit can only make jokes when asked what adjustments he can make.

"Looking at the waiver wire, seeing who's available out there," Cubit quipped. "Wouldn't that be nice, huh?"

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