Thursday's Practice Report

While Wisconsin football competed in only helmets during practice No.14, preparing for Saturday's spring game, the focus of the practice was off the field and the status of Curt Phillips, who will have surgery tomorrow on the same knee that he's suffered two ACL tears on.

MADISON – After not suiting up the last three practices, a reason cited to swelling, junior quarterback Curt Phillips will undergo exploratory knee surgery on Friday. What the results will be are anybody's guess.

"Curt started off the first three weeks," UW Coach Bret Bielema said Thursday. "It'll be a little procedure that will hopefully clean things up and he'll be back in June."

Phillips has had a bumpy road in the past year, tearing his ACL in last year's spring practices and re-tearing the same ligament in October. He had been working out this spring with a knee brace on, but in limited capacity and not in any live action drills.

"It shouldn't be anything major, hopefully, going into tomorrow's procedure" Bielema said. "We'll just kind of deal with the cards after they're there. If it's even something they can take care of and clean up hopefully he will be back full time in June."

Phillips originally injured his right knee during spring camp one year ago after scrambling from the pocket and seeing his knee give out in a cut. Phillips proved to be a quick healer, nearing full strength just five months after surgery when the second tear occurred in practice. He didn't appear in a game last season.

Bielema said there is some concern seeing as it's the same knee, but pointed again the quarterback's resiliency and ability to get healthy quickly.

"Curt is a pretty tough kid," Bielema said. "As soon as he can go, he'll go."

More Spring Game Nuggets

In addition to the first team offense against the first team defense, Bielema announced that all offensive players, and senior kicker Philip Welch, will be in red jerseys while the defensive players will be in white jerseys. Bielema also said that Wisconsin would wear new jerseys that might become their attire this fall. "It's an added flavor to the game," Bielema said.

Bielema also said that the white team would be spotted some points at the beginning of each half and that the only way they can score is turnovers in transition and off the rapid-fire field goals.

One additional player that will not be participating Saturday is redshirt freshman wide receiver Marquis Mason, who according to a facebook post tore his ACL and his meniscus in three different places after a recent practice, meaning he'll be gone for most if not all of 2011 and stretches an already thin receivers group even thinner.

"Unfortunately we didn't think it was severe as it was until he went in and got an MRI," Bielema said. "He'll have ACL surgery that probably will take place after finals."

Practice Notes

Per NCAA rules, Wisconsin was just in helmets today as it prepared for Saturday's spring game. With no hitting and minimal team work, the two hour practice yielded only a couple highlights. - Jon Budmayr continues to build confidence with Jared Abbrederis. During team drills, Budmayr his Abbrederis for a 20-yard completion on second down and, after a sack by Patrick Butrym, hit the sophomore wide receiver again for 21 yards.

- Wisconsin's defensive ends aren't just pass rushers, as the group proved Thursday to be pretty good in pass coverage. Louis Nzegwu dropped back in coverage and registered a pass breakup on a play intended for Brian Wozniak, David Gilbert was seen running step for step with Jake Byrne and Warren Herring may the play of the day, breaking up what looked like a sure touchdown catch to Zach Brown in the corner of the end zone after the senior running back appeared to have hauled in the beautiful pass from Joe Brennan.

"I think some of those guys have the ability to get on the edge of things in our fire zone package and they do a good job of dropping and flipping their hips," Bielema said. "It's an athletic group."

- Both the first and second team offense failed to register a touchdown in the two-minute drill, as both groups moved the ball well but were done in by athletic plays by the defense. Budmayr got the ball inside the 40, but two incompletions at the 24-yard line followed by a solid pass breakup by Devin Smith forced Budmayr into a tough scenario on fourth down. Trying to scramble to buy more time, Budmayr lost the handle of the football at midfield and it was recovered by the defense.

- The second-team offense was led by freshman Joel Stave and started off strong, completing passes of 14 yards to Byrne, five to Brown and 10 to Kenzel Doe (who bounced back from a rough Tuesday practice for a couple good receptions). The good news ended there when linebacker Josh Harrison deflected a pass that was intercepted by A.J. Fenton. Stave led one more drive, completing four straight passes but was then sacked by Bryce Gilbert, threw two incompletions and was sacked by Peniel Jean on fourth down.

Extra Points: Bielema said sophomore tight end Jacob Pedersen (ankle) may participate, but it's holding out hope … Senior Kevin Claxton (ribs) is expected to play … Sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Kohout (concussion) is questionable for Saturday.


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