The Wisconsin Badgers depth at linebacker will already be tested as the team announced Thursday that Jack Cichy will miss the 2017 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Cichy was hurt in Tuesday's practice, but kept playing despite the injury. Cichy will have surgery Friday.
"You hate it for Jack," head coach Paul Chryst said in a statement. "You only get so many chances to play this game and you never want to see a guy miss any of those opportunities. Hes one of the leaders of our team and I know hell be a big part of what we do moving forward this season."
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Wisconsin is well positioned at inside linebacker, with returning players such as Ryan Connelly, T.J. Edwards, Garret Dooley and Chris Orr as well as emerging sophomores Griffin Grady and Nick Thomas, but Cichy was expected to have a large role.
A former walk-on, Cichy was voted a team captain for the 2017 season. He also was placed on watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Nagurski Trophy and Lott IMPACT Trophy this preseason.
All this despite playing in only seven games last season. Cichy was injured in first half of the Oct. 21 game at Iowa last year -- tearing his pectoral muscle -- yet still attempted to finish out the game.
Cichy started seven games in 2016 with 60 tackles, 7.0 TFL and 1.5 sacks and was named All-Big Ten honorable mention.
In 2015, Cichy was fifth on the team with 60 tackles and had 8.0 TFL and 5.0 sacks. In the Holiday Bowl, he had three sacks against USC on three consecutive plays, earning him the nickname "three-sack Jack."
A senior, Cichy used up his redshirt year in 2014. He would need to apply for a medical redshirt to compete again at Wisconsin.