No. 18 Wisconsin expects Gordon back for home opener against Western Illinois

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Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon (25) leaps over LSU safety Jalen Mills (28) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/The Courier, Jason Fochtman)


MADISON, Wisconsin — Wisconsin expects running back Melvin Gordon and defensive lineman Konrad Zagzebski to be ready Saturday for the No. 18 Badgers' home opener against Western Illinois.

Both players were injured at week in Wisconsin's 28-24 loss to LSU in the season opener in Houston.

Gordon, who had 16 carries for 140 yards, suffered a hip flexor injury and didn't play the majority of the second half.

Zagzebski was hit in the head and neck in the first quarter. He lost feeling on his left side and was taken to a hospital for examination. The senior underwent an MRI and CT scan, and both tests were negative.

"Melvin's been good all week and Zags did some (work) today," coach Gary Andersen said after practice Thursday night. "I didn't quite get a great look at him through his reps but I know he wasn't taken out of any drills, and he looked fine."

The Badgers will be without top defensive lineman Warren Herring for at least four weeks. He had surgery on his right knee this week.

Andersen said the defense will need to regroup without Herring, who was hurt on the final play of the third quarter against LSU.

Andersen was otherwise upbeat following an odd week in Madison.

Wisconsin announced Tuesday morning that quarterback Joel Stave would be sidelined indefinitely due to injury. Andersen and Stave then talked to reporters Tuesday night to reveal that there was nothing physically wrong with the junior, just that he was having difficulty throwing the football.

There is no timetable for Stave's return, and Andersen said injury wasn't the right word to use in describing Stave's mechanical issues.

Andersen said he might reassess how he handles certain situations given the way the week has gone, but that his top priority is taking care of players.

"If sometimes I come out as not looking great in those situations, I really can't control that," he said. "I can't say I wouldn't drastically change anything. Unfortunately the way some of it came out: Did I like that? No. I don't like to see that for any team or any university."

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