MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst spoke to reporters following practice on Thursday, and Jack Cichy’s season-ending right ACL tear was the topic of conversation.
Cichy, one of Wisconsin’s starting inside linebackers, tore the ACL during practice on Tuesday. He continued to practice Tuesday and Wednesday before an MRI revealed the tear. The school announced his injury news Thursday morning during the Badgers’ practice.
Cichy also missed the final seven games of last season after sustaining a torn pectoral muscle.
Here’s what Chryst had to say about Cichy:
Chryst: I think you guys have gotten the news about Jack. It goes without saying, the biggest thing you feel for right now is for Jack. Appreciate what he means to this team and for him to lose this opportunity, that’s where your heart goes right now. Had a chance to just visit with him a little bit last night and [he is] obviously disappointed. But I think those of you who have gotten to know Jack, there’s a lot to that guy. He’s just going to attack the next phase, next chapter for him and that’s really, you appreciate that out of him.
For him to go down again after the injury he had last year, what kind of spirits was he in last night?
Chryst: Cich is obviously disappointed. But also there’s a lot to him. I think he’s probably at that point, he had just found out. Heck, he had two practices. So I think it was surprising to him. But talking to him this morning, it’s what you want. He’s about, ‘OK, what do I got to do going forward?’
Were you surprised about the news as well because he practiced Wednesday?
Chryst: And Tuesday. He saw the doctors and all that and once they got the MRI, that’s it. These things happen and it always goes back to you feel for the individual.
Did you sense your team was somber today as a result?
Chryst: You can’t separate it. I didn’t think we had great energy the last two. There were some workmanlike things going on. But certainly it’s one of your captains, and guys respect him. And those of you who have been at practice, he does liven practice up. He’ll be back doing that. So I think there were a number of things. I think that’s where we’ve got to, I don’t care whether it’s this new camp schedule or old camps. There’s that point in camp where you’ve got to fight through it, and I think that’s take advantage of the off day [Friday] and come back. We’ve got four days and then we’ll have the next off day. So we’ve got to come back and have a good four days.
Did you get an explanation from the trainers on why Cichy was allowed to continue practicing on Tuesday and Wednesday?
Chryst: Yeah, the doctors went through all the protocol and they couldn’t find anything. Cich said that it felt good and so went through all the protocol. They needed the MRI, and they didn’t get that until yesterday.
With Jack out, you’ve got three inside linebackers who have played: T.J. Edwards, Chris Orr and Ryan Connelly. After that, what do you see from guys who are now asked to do more?
Chryst: I think those are those windows of opportunity for those guys. Arrington Farrar, who made the switch halfway through spring, maybe a little bit past halfway. So he has a chance to get reps. We’ve liked the way that Mike Maskalunas has come in and worked. So there’s more work for him. It’ll be good to get Griffin [Grady] back. He’s kind of missing that. So there’s three young guys that kind of come off the top of your head. That’s good work for them. So they’ve got to take advantage of that. Ryan, we don’t know when Ryan will be back. Certainly not a season [ending] type of injury. So those will be great opportunities for that group.
What is the timeline like for Jack’s future of whether he can have eligibility again or how long it will take to recover?
Chryst: Obviously, those are questions that the brain hasn’t even gone there. You’re talking with a young man that last night just, ‘How are you doing?’ And that’s all you really care about. And then this morning was about when can we get surgery scheduled? I think it’s way too early for anything like that other than make sure that the doc is on when it’s time to go.
With other athletes that you have coached that got a medical redshirt, how long does the process take?
Chryst: I’ve been involved with a few of those. Not too long.
If there’s a silver lining, do you think the fact he missed time last year and was able to help teammates is beneficial for him this time, knowing he’s done that before?
Chryst: I didn’t go to that silver lining. One of the things that I think he epitomizes truly is he has fun playing the game and plays it the right way. Last year and even today he brought it up. You hear all this with Jack gone. He was at practice. There’s a lot worse things happening to people, and he’s one that gives me that perspective because you just feel for the individual. But I’m sure that does; he doesn’t need that nor want that experience.
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