Wilkinson playing through pain

Badger forward does not know when his lower left leg injury occurred

There was Mike Wilkinson, pouring in 18 points last Tuesday in the University of Wisconsin's win over UW-Green Bay at the Kohl Center. Two days later, however, when the Badgers returned to the practice floor, Wilkinson was sidelined, wearing a walking boot on his left leg.

Officially designated day-to-day with a lower left leg injury at the time, Wilkinson practiced in a limited capacity Friday and played Saturday, but was ineffective in Wisconsin's 63-54 loss at Marquette. The Badgers' leading rebounder and second-leading scorer was held to one rebound and two points on 1 of 8 shooting.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward, though, does not know when the injury occurred and was focused on playing through it when speaking to reporters after practice Monday.

"It feels alright. What else can you do? You've just got to keep playing," Wilkinson said. "I'm just going out there trying to play. I'm not even thinking about it."

Wilkinson practiced Monday but was absent Tuesday due to a class project. He said he had "no idea" when the injury occurred and "no clue" how it happened.

"You know, it's like anything else," Wilkinson said. "It just kind of showed up. I've just got to take it and go with it. Everything hurts every once in a while. You play basketball as long as you have and you're out there banging around, everything gets sore every once in a while. Just being through a season, you get sore, you get tired, different things hurt. You never know what just happened."

The injury obviously impacted Wilkinson's play Saturday, but he refused to use it as an excuse.

"I was just trying to go out there," he said. "I had my shots like everyone else had. I just didn't knock them down. Those are the shots that I had that I have to make. It just didn't happen. I didn't get as many rebounds as I like. Things just didn't go as well as I planned they would have."

Wilkinson declined to elaborate on the nature of his injury but said he was excited to get back on the floor for the Badgers' game tonight against UW-Milwaukee. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

"Every time you take a bump you want to get back on the floor as soon as you can and just prove that that's not the way you always play or you want to try and do things well that you didn't do in the game before," Wilkinson said.

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