INDIANAPOLIS — University of Wisconsin tight end Zander Neuville and running back Bradrick Shaw were ruled out for the rest of the season when the Badgers released their latest injury report Friday.
Both Neuville (right leg) and Shaw (left leg) suffered injuries in the first half of last week’s 31-0 win over Minnesota and were listed as questionable on Monday’s injury report.
Neuville caught nine passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns this season, but his run-blocking ability will be difficult for UW to replace. Sophomore Kyle Penniston, who played 30 snaps against the Gophers, will take on a larger role but excels as a receiver more than a blocker.
“Zander, I love what he’s given to this team,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. "It is an opportunity for Kyle and others to step in and step up. ... Certainly, I thought Zander was playing really good football. You’re going to miss that, and you feel bad for him because he’s missing an opportunity. But others will step in, and they’ve got to step up."
UW may also use fullbacks Austin Ramesh and Alec Ingold in a tight end role moving forward.
Shaw began the season as the Badgers’ starting running back but quickly fell behind Jonathan Taylor on the depth chart. He finished with 365 yards and four touchdowns on 96 carries.
UW has now lost nine players for the season, including key starters in Neuville, wide receiver Quintez Cephus and inside linebacker Jack Cichy.
“That’s one thing our team has done well,” Chryst said. “When a guy is out, certainly the next person in has an opportunity and responsibility to the team. But I think everyone can help pick up the slack."
Safety D’Cota Dixon (right leg) was removed from the injury report Friday after being listed as questionable earlier in the week. Dixon has played limited snaps the past two weeks but said after the Minnesota game that he expected to practice more prior to Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State.
Outside linebacker Noah Burks (left leg), also listed as questionable earlier this week, won’t play Saturday.
Barrett cleared to play, likely not 100 percent
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Friday that quarterback J.T. Barrett practiced in full Thursday and is cleared to play in the Big Ten title game.
Barrett, however, likely won’t be 100 percent. The senior underwent surgery on his right knee Sunday, one day after he injured it in a 31-20 win at Michigan, and Meyer said Barrett went through treatment for 15 hours a day this week.
"Every time I walk by the training room when I got in at 6 a.m., he’s there. And when I go home at night, he’s there,” Meyer said. "He’s just one of the toughest human beings I’ve ever come across.
"It takes a rare individual because there is a pain threshold. ... I can’t say that’s normal. Because it’s not. I’ve had players have similar type things happen, they’re out two, three weeks. But he’s not normal."
Backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins performed well in Barrett’s place against Michigan, completing 6-of-7 passes for 94 yards in leading the Buckeyes to a comeback win.
Meyer said Haskins “absolutely” could be part of Ohio State’s game plan Saturday, regardless of Barrett’s health, and the coach hasn’t committed to saying Barrett will start the game.
Meyer described the situation as “very delicate” when asked about the possibility of Barrett being less effective running the ball.
"That’s something we’re going to watch during the course of the game,” Meyer said. "Some game-time decisions will be made.
“So much of it has to do with how (Barrett) does throughout the course of the week, and trainers and doctors are very involved. It’s not finished. We’re still 24 hours out. I’ve had a player do it before, have a scope early in the week and play. I’ve had others that can’t. His body has to react a certain way, and he’s been very positive."