Eric Finney’s injury bears watching for Illinois football
August 7, 2013 10:06PM
Sports reporter Steve Greenberg in studio. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times.
Updated: September 9, 2013 3:04PM
Eric Finney, a projected defensive starter at the Star position, was carted off the practice field Wednesday morning with an apparent knee injury. By Wednesday evening, Illini coach Tim Beckman still was unable to give a full update on the sophomore’s condition.
“We’re going to be positive,” Beckman said. “Hopefully, we’ll get him back next week.”
After being attended to on the field by trainers, Finney, a junior-college transfer from Corona, Calif., was able to stand and walk gingerly to the cart before being driven away.
After sitting out the 2012 season with an injury, Finney enrolled at Illinois for the spring semester and participated in spring practices. The 6-1, 205-pounder moved to the top of the depth chart at the Star position, which is a linebacker-safety hybrid role. Coaches have described Finney as a physical force and an instant leader of the defense.
“He’s extremely aggressive,”
coordinator Paul Banks said.
Speaking with the Sun-Times on Tuesday, Finney described himself as a player who “[goes] as hard as I can every play, the whole game.”
He said he’s more of an intense hustler than a huge hitter, though he added: “I like to use my pads.”
Beckman said redshirt freshman BJ Bello will take Finney’s place on the first-team defense. First-team strong safety Earnest Thomas has game experience at the Star spot and could move back into that role if needed.
“We’re going to put our best 11 out there,” Beckman said.