Clement’s nightmare junior season continued Thursday when head coach Paul Chryst announced his tailback would undergo sports hernia surgery. He’ll be out the next 4-to-6 weeks while he recovers.
“It is what it is,” said Clement. “I got to get his surgery, do what I have to do to get back on the field as fast as possible.”
Clement was expecting to play Saturday when No.22 Wisconsin plays its final nonconference game against Hawaii. Knowing things were supposed to get better, Clement continued to feel pain and limitations with his leg, feeling different irritations with his body.
He did things with the physician Tuesday on a limited basis. Saying he looked good in short bursts, Clement had trouble really opening up his running game.
“I can get to my third gear, but it’s just a struggle to get to my fourth and really extend, open up my stride,” said Clement. “That’s when I knew something was up and had to get it checked out.”
He had an ultrasound and a MRI Wednesday that revealed two hernias.
“The thing I feel worst about is Corey is missing being with his team and playing,” said Chryst. “These games mean a ton to these players. That’s the biggest thing. He was working and felt he was making progress, but didn’t feel he was able to get over the hump.”
Clement acknowledges that he should have spoken up before the season opener against Alabama, but said the opportunity to play the Crimson Tide was too much too pass up. It’s a decision he regrets.
“Me being so hard headed, I tried to give what I could do,” said Clement. “I am sure my teammates respected it but the end result I should have been smart, played it safe, sat out and should have had the surgery before this.”
Depending on how he recovers from surgery and how the team is doing, Clement – a true sophomore - is not ruling out using a medical redshirt this season.
“I just need to get it handled," said Clement. "I can’t have it lingering, going on too much longer.”
As the third-string tailback his freshman season, Clement rushed for 547 yards on just 67 attempts, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. Backing up Heisman Trophy runner-up Melvin Gordonlast season, Clement rushed for 949 yards and nine touchdowns.
After Wisconsin wraps up the nonconference schedule Saturday, the Badgers will have to play Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue and Illinois without Clement in the backfield. In the worst case scenario based on the 4-6 week diagnosis, Clement will be sidelined until November with only games against Maryland, Northwestern and Minnesota remaining.