MADISON - As the summer progressed and he geared up for his third season as Wisconsin’s lead fullback, junior Derek Watt felt he could push through a tolerable, but nagging, pain in his right foot. That thought process changed on the first kick return of the second half against LSU.
Watt broke the fifth metatarsal on his right foot but relied on adrenaline to carry through the remainder of the 27-24 loss to LSU.
“I knew it wasn’t good at all,” said Watt. “I knew it was pretty bad to be honest, but I wasn’t about to take myself out of the game in that situation. After the game it definitely wasn’t fun.”
The injury – called a Jones fracture – required surgery to insert a screw into Watt’s foot, putting in on crutches and a walking cast for approximately eight weeks.
The timetable for Watt unfortunately hasn’t changed. Forced to let the bone heal naturally, Watt goes through vigorous upper body workouts and pushes his left foot to the max.
“Right now I am making big strides,” said Watt. “I am getting into the pool lately and doing some underwater stuff on the treadmill. I am making good progress and things are looking good from my perspective. I’m happy with where I’m at right now, but it’s still a long way to go with being game ready.”
Watt wears the disappointment of the injury on his face, but spoke glowingly of the work of Austin Ramesh. Much like the situation when Watt was thrust into the starting fullback role without any prior game reps, Ramesh has started the last three games and has been making strides on a weekly basis, thanks in part to Watt’s tutelage.
“He definitely has gotten better each week,” said Watt. “It’s tough for a young player without any game experience, but you’ve got to start somewhere. He’s just got a few things to work on that I’m trying to help out with the best I can. He’s making strides each week, which is big for him, and the more reps you get and game experience the better the things get.”