Posted by Adam Jacobi
Seventh-ranked Wisconsin's defense will be at less than full strength for today's game against No. 8 Nebraska, as starting defensive end David Gilbert has suffered a broken foot. Not only will Gilbert miss today's game, it appears most of the regular season is now in doubt as well.
Wisconsin RapidReporter Tamira Madsen has the news on Gilbert, and it's not good:
DE David Gilbert suffered a broken foot and will be sidelined six to eight weeks, a source with ties to Gilbert told the Wisconsin State Journal. Gilbert, a starter who leads the team with three sacks, apparently suffered the injury this week. Either Patrick Muldoon or Brendan Kelly likely will start Saturday against Nebraska.
Gilbert's loss is bad news for a Wisconsin defense that has looked vulnerable at times both this year and last (though with such a high-powered offense, it's easy not to notice). Gilbert's not an All-American or anything, but he is an incremental improvement over both Muldoon and Kelly, so Wisconsin's front seven is going to need account for his loss. And being that Nebraska's option offense relies so much on attacking the free defensive end and forcing fast decisions, Gilbert's replacement is about to be baptized by fire tonight.
Unfortunately for Gilbert, though he's still a true junior, the injury comes about a week too late. If the broken foot kept Gilbert out for the rest of the season, he would be eligible for a medical redshirt if he had only participated in three games. Since we're past the fourth week of play, that option looks to be out the window.
At the same time, this is a 6-8 week injury, not 6-8 months, so it's easily possible that Gilbert could get back on the field right when Wisconsin needs him the most: the Big Ten Championship (if Wisconsin is involved) and whatever bowl the Badgers are invited to. So even if a medical redshirt were on the table, it's possible that head coach Bret Bielema would want to get Gilbert back on the field as soon as possible.