CHAMPAIGN - Almost exactly a year after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee, Illini sophomore receiver Mike Dudek again is hampered by a knee injury -- the extent of which is not yet known.
Dudek wore pads during Tuesday afternoon's practice but did not participate in any drills. He suffered the injury during Saturday's non-padded practice, just the second spring session for Illinois football. In the closing minutes of practice Saturday, Dudek limped off the field with a team trainer.
Illini head coach Lovie Smith declined to comment on the severity of the injury and did not provide a timeline for his return, saying that the team will "just try to take it day by day."
"Just as a general rule, guys, I don't talk a lot about injuries," Smith said. "I'll tell you the injuries they had. He had a knee injury, and we held him out of practice today.
"I learned a long time ago that 'doctor' isn't in front of my name. I try not to be Dr. Smith a lot. If guys can't go, we hold them out. Spring of course you take every precaution."
Dudek, a Scout.com Freshman All-American after totaling 1,038 receiving yards in 2014, sat out all of the 2015 season with a torn ACL.
"I’ve never battled as much adversity as I did this past year," Dudek told IlliniInquirer.com in January. "It was tough, but I learned a lot. There’s a great support system around here, and I have a great family too that was always making sure I was happy and things were going well with life. (Former wide receivers coach Mike) Bellamy was great too just keeping me involved with things, keeping me at the receiver dinners, the receiver lunches, everything like that. He just made sure I was still involved. I’d still go watch film with him, do all that. It helped me learn a lot mentally, learning from the sidelines. It was tough at first just because it was something I’m not used to, but then I realized I was going to be out the whole year and I really had to buckle down and learn and try to prove myself as too.”