Mike Epstein will miss rest of season, Brandon Peters still not cleared for practice


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Mike Epstein will miss the rest of the season with an injury, Illinois head coach Bret Bielema announced on Monday. The Illini running back has only appeared in two games this season, carrying the ball 25 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. In his career, the Florida native has played just 22 games, dealing with several season ending injuries along the way.

“He is awaiting a test that will happen at the end of the year, it won’t happen before our last regular scheduled game, so he’ll take a look at the things and perspective at that time and kind of make a decision about the future,” Bielema said.

Jake Hansen is going through further testing, according to Bielema, who added that he will have an announcement later this week. The senior linebacker has appeared in five games this season, recording 32 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two forced fumbles.

Meanwhile, Illini quarterback Brandon Peters still has yet to be medically cleared to be a full participant in practice. Peters hasn’t practiced since the Wisconsin game, leaving with an unspecified injury. He also hurt his shoulder earlier this season in the opening game against Nebraska, leaving in the first quarter.

“BP did throw the ball yesterday,” Bielema said. “I do think at some point this week we could possibly get his return but right now, going into the normal work week, he isn’t cleared for practice on Tuesday.”

Deuce Spann worked out over the weekend, still recovering from a hamstring injury. Bielema said he expects outside linebacker Seth Coleman to be ‘full go’ for Tuesday’s practice.

Illinois visits No. 7 Penn State Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in a nationally televised game on ABC. The Illini are 23.5-point underdogs in Happy Valley.

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