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Calvin Hart Jr. has season-ending knee surgery

Bielema said it’s not an ACL, however.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Calvin Hart Jr. was a difference-maker for the Illini in defense in Week 0 against Nebraska.

Unfortunately, that’s all we’ll see from the transfer this year.

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema told media Thursday that Hart had season-ending knee surgery on Wednesday.

Hart, a sophomore who spent his first three seasons at North Carolina State, had a scoop-and-score touchdown just before the half against the Cornhuskers on Saturday.

Playing alongside senior Jake Hansen, there was a lot expected from Hart to anchor the defense, especially after he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for Week 0.

In a statement on Twitter, Hart said he realizes injuries are part of the game, but said he will be back “stronger and better than ever before.”

“I appreciate the continued prayers, love and support,” Hart wrote.

In other injury news, Bielema said quarterback Brandon Peters is progressing, but didn’t say if he’d be available for Saturday against UTSA. Expect Art Sitkowski to start still.