Tape It Up: Wisconsin: On Second Thought, Maybe Not

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Wisconsin: On Second Thought, Maybe Not

When Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill came out of last week's game in the first quarter with a bruised foot, head coach Bret Bielema said he should be fine to play this week when the Badgers take on No. 1 Ohio State. What he should have said was, 'I'm not a doctor.' At this point, Bielema may be eating his words, as Hill's injury looks more serious than the coach made it out to be, and the Badgers' biggest offensive threat is suddenly questionable for the team's biggest game of the season.

"A head coach should probably not talk after the game on Saturday," Bielema said on Monday, enjoying a hearty helping of his own words. After Saturday's 33-3 win, Bielema was candid about the fact that that Hill had suffered a bad bruise, but would be back for this week. Now, the waters look murkier.

Hill has a bruise on his leg, not his foot, in the spot directly above the metal plate inserted where he broke a bone his leg during his redshirt freshman year in 2005. X-rays and an MRI on his foot and leg were both negative and there was no structural damage, but the soreness was bad enough to keep Hill out of practice on Sunday and Bielema has not revealed when the tailback will be able to go this week.

If Hill can't play against the Buckeyes, which we won't know for sure until later in the week, the team will be a bit thin at running back as sophomore Lance Smith, Hill's most consistent backup, continues to serve out his road-game suspension as dictated by the Dean of Students. Bielema has tried to get the suspension reduced, but to no avail, so the Badgers may be down two backs on Saturday.

"I've been basically in discussions with different university personnel and have been told to remain quiet about the issue, so I'll remain quiet," Bielema said.

That leaves freshman Zach Brown to fill a large backfield void. Luckily, Brown played his best game of the season last week, carrying 14 times for 40 yards and scoring his first career touchdown.

Bielema would turn to his fullbacks for help with the run game, except that they are banged up as well. Chris Pressley and Bill Rentmeester both have unspecified injuries keeping them from running full out, but Bielema said they should be okay to play. Both practiced on Sunday.

The situation does not look good for the Badgers, whose only shot at making up big ground in the rankings lies on the field in Columbus, Ohio. Without Hill, the Badgers may be burying their Big Ten chances before they even get on the bus.

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