Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
After a slew of early season injuries, the Badgers are healthy again heading into the thick of conference play.
Injuries have certainly hampered the continuity of the Badgers in the first half of the season. At least seven starters or solid contributors have gone down with injuries, but it appears UW is finally turning the corner and is past the constant biting of the injury bug (*knock on wood*).
Both safety Shelton Johnson and offensive lineman Kyle Costigan return to the starting lineup this week. Johnson broke his arm in the Oregon State game and didn't make his return until last Saturday against Illinois, where he entered the game as a backup to Michael Caputo. Costigan, on the other hand, suffered a knee injury in the Nebraska game, but had microscopic surgery just two days later and will fight through the pain to start at Purdue this week.
Brendan Kelly (hamstring) and Pat Muldoon (thumb) returned to the action in the Illinois game, so both should be full go this weekend. Another key contributor, Peniel Jean, returns this week from a broken foot that sidelined him just before the start of the season. It remains to be seen how much game time Jean will see, but he'll likely fight to retain his old role as the Nickel cornerback.
It's quite remarkable how well the defense has stood up, given the multitude of injuries on that side of the ball. Losing two top defensive backs and dealing with constant injuries on the defensive line — coupled with the loss of Jordan Kohout before the season — makes the stinginess of the defense all that more impressive.
Injuries are a major obstacle for any team, but hopefully the worst is behind UW, so it can move deep into conference play near full strength.
(Badgers latest depth chart — as of 10/8)
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