Expected to start at the hybrid linebacker/safety position in his first season at Illinois, Eric Finney will instead spend the next several weeks rehabbing an injury that wasn’t nearly as serious as first expected.
Head coach Tim Beckman confirmed that Finney underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee Thursday, with his status for the Illini’s season opener up in the air. Beckman, though, has not 100-percent ruled the player out, going so far as to say that Finney could return before the end of camp.
“It’s going to be close,” Beckman said when asked about Finney’s availability for the Aug. 31 opener against Southern Illinois. “Probably going to be cutting that really close. But I think he’ll keep on progressing. He’s on the crutches now and maybe the beginning of next week or Tuesday-ish, he’ll be off the crutches.”
Finney went down with the injury during Wednesday’s practice. Beckman was decidedly pessimistic in the aftermath of the injury, stating that “[h]opefully it isn’t an ACL, which everyone thinks it could be.”
Finney came to the Illini from the JUCO ranks this offseason. He missed the entire 2012 season due to an undisclosed injury.