Costigan is Mr. Dependable
Think of Wisconsin guard Kyle Costigan as the family vehicle that lasted for years.
Comfortable. Durable. Dependable.
No matter how many miles were logged, the engine always fired up.
Yet even the most dependable vehicles need occasional maintenance, and Costigan, who sat out all spring after undergoing right-knee surgery, appears headed for more surgery, perhaps as early as after the regular-season finale against Penn State.
“The plan is…I'll probably have some surgeries after the season,” Costigan said earlier this week after practice. “We'll get MRIs after the Penn State game and we'll decide on a plan. We'll see.”
The redshirt junior from Muskego High School was a bit vague on specifics, but it appears that if only arthroscopic surgery is required that will be the choice and he will be ready for a bowl game. If more comprehensive surgery is required, he plans to wait until after the bowl game.
“There's not many kids who would be playing right now with what Kyle has,” offensive line coach T.J. Woods said. “It is really more just nagging knee injuries. He just has issues.
“It's not anything that severe like an ACL tear. He just has a lot of pain in his knees and has to battle through it.”
Woods allowed Costigan and redshirt senior Zac Matthias to split time during preseason camp and then through the first two games, with Matthias starting both.
Costigan, who started nine games last season, returned to the starting lineup in Week 3 this season and is poised to make his ninth consecutive start when UW (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) plays Minnesota (8-2, 4-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Minneapolis.
However, Woods in the last two games has given Matthias about one-third of the snaps in an effort to ease Costigan's workload. Woods also gives Costigan time off during practice.
“That is the plan for the rest of the year,” Wood said, “to limit him and get him to the fight as healthy as he can be.
“I don't think we missed a beat when Zac was in there and that makes you feel good as a coach knowing you can do that and take some reps off of Kyle.”
Woods acknowledged that the knee issues have prevented Costigan from being as effective as he can be.
“I mean, he'll never tell you that,” Woods said, “but he is banged up pretty good.
“He is a tough kid and he battles through it.”
The most frustrating aspect for Costigan is missing practice time and the opportunity to get better through repetition.
“Zac is a good player and he deserves to play,” he said of Matthias getting time in games. “That's not an issue with me at all. It's missing practice. It is frustrating knowing you can't do everything you would like to do. But you just take it one day at a time and listen to what the trainers and coaches tell you to do. That is what I'm trying to do.”
Costigan, who first injured his right knee in the 2012 Big Ten opener against Nebraska, felt healthy and fresh during camp in August.
“I definitely felt a lot better than I did last year, but as time goes on it just gets sore,” he said. “The way the injury is … it is probably something I'm going to deal with the rest of my life.
“That is no excuse, though. Hopefully it gets better. I'm just trying to do everything I can and listening to the trainers and doctors. But there's not many options at the moment.”