Injuries in college football don’t follow a discernible pattern. In the NFL, injuries are clustered at the start of the season, with larger preseason rosters and players who just can’t handle the workload. Add in heat and fatigue and it’s no wonder that most NFL injuries happen early. In college, the rosters are huge, the players are more disparate in talent, and due to the traumatic nature of the game, the injuries tend to happen in the moment rather than wearing down over the course of a season.
That said, the Big Ten has been remarkably light on injuries. No, I’m not trying to jinx it so that I’ll have more to write about. The games should be decided on the field with the best players. So far, hats off to the medicals staffs and the coaching staffs. We can only hope this trend continues. There are some injuries, of course, so let’s take a look around the Land of 10:
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin
Big leads make it tough to assess injuries. Coaches hold out players who have minor injuries to make sure there’s no further damage and to stop running up the score. Corey Clement came out of last weekend’s game with an ankle sprain, but not going back in really doesn’t tell us much about the injury. Clement isn’t a shifty, cut-and-run back. He’s a power runner, but even those backs need the ability to move laterally. The Wisconsin offense is pretty balanced, but Clement is the kind of workhorse they’ve built teams around in the past. Right now, it doesn’t look like this ankle sprain is too concerning, but with Georgia State ahead of a gauntlet of Big Ten powers, Clement might get a light load next week, if there’s any concern at all.
Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
Indiana improved to 2-0 after having broken a losing streak to Ball State last weekend, but the Hoosiers appear to have lost speedster Simmie Cobbs to a serious ankle injury on his first play of the season after a one-game suspension. Sources tell me that there is concern for both fracture and ligament damage in his ankle, so surgery is going to happen quickly. This is a big loss for coach Kevin Wilson’s offense. Cobbs was the third leading receiver in the Big Ten last season. There’s little chance that Cobbs could return this season after surgery, so a medical redshirt is an option for him. The Hoosiers are deep at the receiver position, but this loss will sting.
Brandon Lingen, TE, Minnesota
Brandon Lingen has been fighting back from a shoulder injury that held him out of the Week 1 game, but things just got worse. Lingen has a broken clavicle (collarbone) and will miss a month. It’s a painful but common injury. It’s a simple fracture, but because of the clavicle’s function and the state of medical technology, there’s not really much anyone can do except wait. Bones heal, normally and predictably. They’re easy to check. There’s just no way to speed it up. Surgery to fixate the clavicle, usually with a plate, barely buys any time and has some additional risks, like infection. For a tight end who will be asked to block, the clavicle will have to be fully stable, so healing should take a full month.
Markell Jones, RB, Purdue
After last week talking about rushing for 1,500 yards, Markell Jones is just hoping to go this week. He came off the field against Cincinnati in the classic guarding posture that indicates a shoulder injury. The team had no further details, but how he was treated on the sidelines gives us some indication. If they thought collarbone, he’d have gone immediately for X-rays. There was no indication that he had stability issues. Basically, the end treatment on field was ice, which could indicate a mild sprain or bruising. Both of those would be minor and give Jones a chance to be back for the next game, so this is one to monitor through the week.