Illinois linebacker Mike Svetina will miss the start of the season after suffering a broken foot in practice earlier this week. Tim Beckman confirmed the injury, which is expected to keep Svetina sidelined for eight to ten weeks, while speaking to reporters on Thursday.
"Mike had a fifth metatarsal break in the foot, had the surgery last night, it was great. It was a clear-cut fracture, so you're talking eight to 10 weeks that he's going to be out right now," Beckman said. "Came back, saw him this morning, he was great, great spirits. It was a successful operation."
Svetina's injury puts him out of commission for the remainder of training camp and likely all of the non-conference schedule. Beckman said he wouldn't return until conference play, if then.
Svetina started 11 games for the Fighting Illini in 2013, recording 57 tackles for a unit that is looking to improve after allowing 6.66 yards per play -- a figure that ranked No. 11 in the Big Ten and No. 115 nationally. He was listed as a backup middle linebacker on the team's post-spring depth chart.
Beckman indicated (via CSN Chicago) that there are several players who could see more time in Svetina's absence.
"B.J. Bello we've moved there. He's doing better and better learning the position. LaKeith Walls, Ralph Cooper. Those are the upperclassmen names. We're moving Henry McGrew over there to see what he looks like at that position. He's been playing the Leo. And you're talking about Austin Roberts and Tre Watson. They've got to be guys," Beckman said. "And I will say Nate Echard, too, has done a good job as one of our walk-ons."
Illinois opens the season against Youngstown State at home on Aug. 30.