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Northwestern RB Venric Mark out for the season

Northwestern senior running back Venric Mark will miss rest seasdue an ankle fracture Wildcats coach PFitzgerald announced  Monday. |

Northwestern senior running back Venric Mark will miss the rest of the season due to an ankle fracture, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday. | Getty

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Updated: November 11, 2013 10:07PM



Northwestern senior running back Venric Mark will miss the rest of the season with a fractured left ankle, coach Pat Fitzgerald announced at his weekly news conference Monday. Mark is scheduled to speak with the media Tuesday.

Mark injured the ankle in the first quarter of the Wildcats’ 35-6 loss Oct. 12 at Wisconsin and hasn’t played since.

Once the season is over, Fitzgerald said NU will apply for a hardship waiver on behalf of Mark that, if granted, would allow him to play in 2014. That will be handled by the Wildcats’ medical and compliance staffs.

Mark played sparingly in NU’s season opener Aug. 31 at Cal, then sat out the rest of the nonconference season with a lower-body injury. Fitzgerald said Mark’s initial injury wasn’t the same one that ended his season.

Mark played the entirety of the Wildcats’ 40-30 home loss Oct. 5 to Ohio State before injuring his ankle the next week at Wisconsin.

Mark had a stellar season in 2012, when he was named an All-American punt returner and was a key component in NU’s running game. His loss has been felt by a struggling offense.

‘‘It’s not that the injury has gotten worse; it’s just that it hasn’t gotten any better,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘Disappointed for him but . . . looking forward to him getting healthy and getting better.’’

Redshirt-freshman running back Stephen Buckley also is done for the season after undergoing surgery on his left knee Thursday. Buckley injured the knee in the first quarter of the Wildcats’ 27-24 loss Nov. 2 at Nebraska. He stayed on the ground for several minutes before being carted off the field and taken to the hospital. An MRI exam Nov. 4 revealed the need for surgery, and Fitzgerald said Buckley will be out nine months.

NU typically lists three running backs on its two-deep roster, but it listed only Mike Trumpy and Treyvon Green for the game Saturday against Michigan.

Email: sgruen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SethGruen



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