Zander Neuville’s University of Wisconsin football career may be finished.
The fifth-year senior tight end suffered a season-ending left knee injury during practice earlier this week.
“That was unfortunate,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. “As a team, you’ve got to be able to overcome that, but you feel terrible for (Neuville) and him having to go through that.”
Neuville pushed himself to return in time for this season after he tore the ACL in his right knee against Minnesota in UW’s regular-season finale last year.
He was on his way back from nursing other issues with that right knee. He played five snaps against Iowa two weeks ago before the Badgers’ bye and was no longer listed on the injury report earlier this week. Chryst said Neuville was “the best he’s felt” before this week’s season-ending injury.
Neuville has not missed two full seasons due to injury and has already redshirted, meaning he likely won’t be granted a sixth year of eligibility.
“It’s so hard for me because the football part of it, we will and you have to and you want to cover all the basis, for lack of a better term,” Chryst said. “But the individual component of it, and I think there’s a little bit more when it’s their senior season. You hate to see someone that you care about go through that.”
The Badgers’ running game struggled to find consistency in their loss to BYU on Sept. 15 when Neuville left on the second play from scrimmage. With Neuville very limited against the Hawkeyes, UW used offensive linemen Logan Bruss and Jason Erdmann as blocking tight ends.
Chryst said UW will get Luke Benzschawel, the Badgers’ No. 2 blocking tight end behind Neuville, back from a right leg injury this week, which could soften the impact of Neuville’s absence.
“Certainly, it gives you options,” Chryst said. “… A lot of different people have to step up and overcome it, whether it’s through schematics or individuals.”