Wisconsin running back John Clay will not participate in spring drills, head coach Bret Bielema announced in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Clay is one of three key players who will miss the entire spring season. The other two are linebackers Chris Borland and Mike Taylor, both of whom were expected to be out when practices start Saturday.
Clay has had a history of ankle problems that go back to his high school days. To remedy those problems, he is in the process of having procedures done on both ankles and is expected to be fully healthy when summer conditioning starts June 7.
"We thought the best option for him was to get completely healthy," Bielema said. "Last year he was kind of limited in summer drills and we thought that really affected his play early on. He actually got stronger as the season wore on so we really want him to enter fall camp in good shape."
Clay told reporters Wednesday that he had surgery Jan. 7 on his left ankle. He had a bone removed and said he could feel the relief immediately after the surgery.
"It was a pain (last season)," Clay said. "Just getting hit hard, getting landed on anyway kind of tweaked it."
The reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is set for surgery on his right ankle March 25 and Clay said the recovery time on this ankle should only be a month because he is just having it cleaned out. No bones will be removed.
Borland, meanwhile, had an operation done on his shoulder after the bowl game. He will miss the entire spring but Bielema said his rehab has his on course to be completely ready to go by fall camp.
Bielema said linebacker Mike Taylor, who tore his ACL Oct. 17 against Iowa, is "doing extremely well" and should be fully ready for summer conditioning.
Other key players who are battling injuries include offensive linemen Gabe Carimi, Peter Konz and John Moffitt.
Carimi had minor surgery recently and is "technically cleared to go," Bielema said, but will likely not return until the second half of spring practice.
Moffitt also had a minor procedure done and will be ready for the second half of spring practice as well.
Konz, meanwhile, is still recovering from a blood clot in his lung and "can do everything in our program except for contact," Bielema said. Konz will sit during the spring but be ready for the fall.
On defense, defensive end Brendan Kelly continues to battle injuries. He had surgery four to five weeks ago and should be ready for the second half of spring practice.
Finally, tight end Zach Davidson is coming off an injury but is eyeing a return during the first half of the spring, while walk-on linebacker Tony Megna, who has not participated in drills since last fall because of chronic headaches, is still on the roster and could rejoin the team in the fall.
Of course, three players remain suspended indefinitely from the team. Sophomore wide receiver Kraig Appleton, redshirt freshman defensive end Shelby Harris and redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Hilll all remain out after violating team rules.