UW's Cichy out for season
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MADISON--Wisconsin overcame injuries to several key players in 2016 and went on to reach the Big Ten title game and win the Cotton Bowl.
The Badgers’ ability to handle adversity will be tested again in 2017.
Senior inside linebacker Jack Cichy, who had worked with T.J. Edwards on the No. 1 unit all camp, will miss the 2017 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“It goes without saying, the biggest thing you feel right now is for Jack,” head coach Paul Chryst said after practice Thursday. “For him to lose this opportunity, that is where your heart goes right now.”
According to UW officials, Cichy suffered the injury during practice Tuesday. He was examined by the medical staff, returned to practice and practiced again Wednesday.
“The doctors went through all the protocol and they couldn’t find anything,” Chryst said. “Cich said it felt good.”
An MRI taken Wednesday revealed the torn ACL and Cichy is scheduled to undergo surgery today.
In a message on Twitter, Cichy said, “From walk-on to captain, it’s been an unreal experience. I don’t know exactly what’s in store next, but I know I’m not done with football. ... We’re gonna keep fighting and we have a helluva season coming.”
Cichy, from Somerset, earned All-Big Ten honorable mention last season despite missing UW’s final seven games with a torn pectoral muscle.
Despite missing half the season, Cichy had 60 tackles to tie for the No. 4 mark on the team.
“He has fun playing the game,” Chryst said. “He plays it the right way because he respects it.”
UW was already without Ryan Connelly, one of the top four inside linebackers. Connelly is out with a left-leg injury and Chryst said he isn’t sure how long Connelly will be out
Edwards and Chris Orr, who suffered a season-ending right-knee injury on the first defensive play in the 2016 opener, worked with the No. 1 unit Thursday.
The No. 2 pairing was junior Arrington Farrar, who moved to linebacker from safety in the spring, and redshirt freshman Mike Maskalunas, a walk-on from Long Grove, Ill. Sophomore Griffin Grady could also push for playing time, though he has been limited in practice because of an unspecified illness.
“Those are those windows of opportunities for those guys,” Chryst said.
Cichy was lightly recruited out of Hill Murray High School in Minnesota and decided to join UW as a walk-on in 2013
“I was undersized,” Cichy said during the Big Ten meetings, noting he weighed 185 pounds as a high school senior. “I didn’t weigh 225 until my redshirt sophomore year. It was a process.”
Cichy played sparingly in 2013 and then took a standard redshirt year in 2014. He started four of 13 games in 2015 and started the first seven games last season before suffering the torn pectoral at Iowa.
He could appeal to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility if he chooses, though Chryst cautioned it is too early to know whether Cichy will pursue a sixth year.
Cichy noted recently that despite the accolades the linebackers receive, the linemen form the foundation of the defense.
“The guys up front on the D-line, we go as they go,” he said. “They’re selfless. They’re hard workers and they demand double teams. And I know those guys are never satisfied.”