Updates from Friday, Sept. 5
The Associated Press (via ESPN.com) has good news regarding Gordon:
Wisconsin expects running back Melvin Gordon and defensive lineman Konrad Zagzebski to be ready Saturday for the No. 18 Badgers' home opener against Western Illinois.
Both players were injured at week in Wisconsin's 28-24 loss to LSU in the season opener in Houston.
Gordon, who had 16 carries for 140 yards, suffered a hip flexor injury and didn't play the majority of the second half.
"Melvin's been good all week and Zags did some (work) today," coach Gary Andersen said after practice Thursday night. "I didn't quite get a great look at him through his reps but I know he wasn't taken out of any drills, and he looked fine."
Melvin Gordon was mysteriously absent for most of the second half of Wisconsin's loss to LSU Saturday, and coach Gary Andersen says an injury is to blame.
A preseason Heisman favorite, Gordon finished the game with 16 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown with a cool 8.8 yards-per-carry average, but Andersen now says he came up limp on a 63-yard scamper, as captured by Jesse Temple of Fox Sports Wisconsin:
GA: "Melvin had a little bit of a hip flexor. Anybody that knows Melvin can see that on the long run. It was very obvious he pulled up."— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) September 1, 2014
Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman points out that Gordon was still in on passing downs at one point:
Melvin Gordon's healthy enough to pass block but can't get any more handoffs?— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) August 31, 2014
Andersen went on to speak critically as to the questions surrounding Gordon's usage:
GA says it's nobody's business to pass on Melvin was injured: "This is where I get into a real problem." Very animated by Gary standards.— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) September 1, 2014
Gordon also spoke about his injury on Monday (via Wisconsin):
Melvin Gordon: My hip injury happened on my last run before halftime. I was ready to go, but they were looking out for what's best for me.— Badger Football (@BadgerFootball) September 1, 2014
Gordon, who came back to school in order to pursue a Big Ten title and perhaps a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff, is obviously a major loss. Last season when finally given the reins, he rushed 206 times for 1,609 yards and 12 scores.
The good news for Wisconsin to counteract the loss of a player and major game is twofold. For one, the upcoming schedule is rather easy thanks to encounters with Bowling Green and South Florida in the coming weeks.
Secondly, Wisconsin is known for churning out quality pro offensive linemen and posting gaudy rushing totals. There is little doubt that Corey Clement (45 yards and a touchdown Saturday, 547 and seven on an 8.2 average last year) and versatile quarterback Tanner McEvoy (six carries for 40 yards Saturday) can produce on the ground in Gordon's absence.
Speaking of McEvoy, Feldman's earlier point makes sense as Gordon is the team's best pass-blocker, so that is where the staff will miss him most as the team breaks in a new starter under center.
While the severity of the injury is unknown, the program is built to thrive despite injuries at the position. The staff would prefer if Gordon returns before the Big Ten opener against Northwestern in early October, but either way the offense should move right along.