A day after Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said wide receiver Robert Wheelwright participated in practice, the junior told reporters on Saturday he expects to play on Dec. 30 when the Badgers face the USC Trojans in the Holiday Bowl.
Wheelwright told the media he suffered a broken fibula -- first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus -- in UW's 24-13 win against Illinois on Oct. 24. The 6'3, 202-pound receiver missed the last four games of the 2015 season, but he expects to be ready to face the Trojans.
Rob Wheelwright says he expects to play in the Holiday Bowl. Went through practice and was able to do more than #Badgers expected.— John Veldhuis (@JohnVeldhuis) December 12, 2015
We talked to #Badgers WR Wheelwright today. Says he will be good to go for bowl. Suffered broken fibula.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) December 12, 2015
Video: #Badgers junior receiver Rob Wheelwright expects to play vs USC in Holiday Bowl https://t.co/BZiEPbzvqC— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) December 12, 2015
Wheelwright wasn't supposed to jump right back into the deep end of the pool, however.
"My first practice, I was supposed to do a little bit of indy, routes on air," Wheelwright said. "Felt good, so they wanted to see if I could do more, and I ended up doing the whole practice."
The junior emerged as a legitimate receiving threat and complement to redshirt senior Alex Erickson for a Wisconsin offense that was carried by its passing game before his injury. He still ranks third on the team in receptions (28), second on the team in receiving yards (369) and leads the team in touchdown receptions (four).
"It's good to get him back," redshirt senior quarterback Joel Stave said.
"Good to get him just out there and get more comfortable, He made one heck of a catch today on kind of a back-shoulder route, so just to see him run again, feeling healthy, and just being able to get back out there, I think, it's good for guys see him being able to do that, and I think it's good for him to build some confidence."
Check out BadgerNation.com's video of Wheelwright from Saturday: