MADISON - A cracked foot has sidelined Wisconsin's emotional leader for Saturday's game and possibly longer.
Senior outside linebacker Vince Biegel had surgery Thursday to insert a screw in his foot and will be out for Saturday's matchup at No.4 Michigan. The news was first reported by ESPN's Jesse Temple.
"I really hate any time a player has to miss time due to an injury, especially a senior like Vince," head coach Paul Chryst said in a statement. "Vince has such a passion for football and loves playing the game. This team is very important to him and he is very important to our team. What you appreciate is that you know he will do everything in his power to get back on the field as soon as possible."
Wisconsin didn't put a definite timetable on the injury, only saying "several weeks." The ESPN report stated 2-to-4 weeks.
Per Temple, who spoke to Biegel's father, Rocky, the hope is Biegel can return in two weeks for the home night game against No.2 Ohio State. UW plays at Iowa Oct.22 and No.15 Nebraska Oct.29 the following two weeks.
"He's been playing on it for the last couple weeks, and it was bothering him a little bit," Rocky Biegel told Temple. "He had X-rays last night and confirmed it was cracked. He either plays on it, and then if he breaks it, then he's going to be out for eight weeks. Either way, he's got to have surgery on it. So he can keep playing until it breaks or try to go through the season with it and try to fix it. At any time, he could break it all the way through. It was just a crack and they're just putting a screw in it. It's a very, very minor crack."
Biegel met with UW team physicians on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss approaches for handling the injury. Late Thursday, the determination was made that surgery was the best option.
Named a team captain before the start of the season, Biegel has nine tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack through four games, leading a defense that has allowed a total of three touchdowns while forcing 18 three-and-outs on 46 opponent possessions this season. Biegel has played in 46 career games with 32 starts.
Junior Garret Dooley and redshirt freshman Zack Baun are listed as the backup outside linebackers on Wisconsin's depth chart. Both players have six tackles for loss this season, while Baun has two tackles for loss.If need be, Wisconsin could move Jack Cichy to outside linebacker and move Ryan Connelly into the starting linebacker position. Cichy played outside linebacker before being switched to inside last October, while Connelly started against Akron in place of the injured T.J. Edwards and Chris Orr.null