Eric Finney Carted Off Field During Practice

USA TODAY Sports

And it looks like we've got our first injury of the season.

When camp begins you know that an injury is coming, the question is when and who it will be. Well, we didn't have to wait very long for it to happen.

Eric Finney was carted off the practice field following an injury this morning.

Eric Finney, the projected starter at the STAR position, was carted off the practice field at the end of Wednesday morning's practice with an apparent knee injury.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman didn't know the extent of the injury the junior college transfer from Corona, Calif., suffered and didn't indicate which knee Finney hurt.

"Doctors will find out more as we go," Beckman said. "We'll see what happens. Right now it was more towards the knee area."

Beckman and defensive coordinator Tim Banks both said they didn't see the injury take place.

"I'll have to look at film to see how it actually happened," Beckman said.

While we don't know the extent of the injury, or even which knee was injured, there is some reason for optimism as defensive coordinator Tim Banks said he's sure Finney will be okay.

Still, coming off a season in which the Illini were devastated by injuries, it's hard not to get a sinking feeling about this. Especially when you consider that former Illini players Arrelious Benn and Kelvin Hayden have been lost for the season due to injuries in the last 24 hours. It seems there's some kind of curse surrounding Illini players these days.

As mentioned in the excerpt, Finney, on of our junior college transfers, is expected to replace Ashante Williams as a starter at the STAR position. The reason he was brought on was to add a bit more depth and experience to a young defense -- particularly in the secondary -- and losing him for any amount of time would certainly not beneficial. If Finney is out for a while he'll likely be replaced by redshirt freshman B.J. Bello, and if that's the case that would mean the Illini have five sophomores or freshman on the projected starting defense.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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