Illini ‘Star’ Eric Finney’s knee not as bad as feared

SHARE Illini ‘Star’ Eric Finney’s knee not as bad as feared

It took a couple of days of anxious waiting, but Illinois football fans can breathe a sigh of relief: Junior-college transfer Eric Finney, a projected started on defense, does not have a major knee injury.

Finney, a sophomore, was carted off the field with an injury on Wednesday, the third day of training camp. Previously listed as the Illini’s starter at the “Star” position — a linebacker-safety hybrid — Finney had arthroscopic surgery performed on his knee on Thursday. Redshirt freshman B.J. Bello moved in with the first team and seems likely to stay there while Finney recuperates.

According to coach Tim Beckman, there’s a chance Finney could be on the field for the Aug. 31 opener vs. Southern Illinois.

“It’s going to be close. It’s probably going to be cutting that real close, but he’ll keep progressing,” Beckman said Friday. “He’s on crutches now. By the beginning of next week, maybe Tuesday-ish, he’ll be off the crutches.”

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks referred earlier in the week to the “five new starters” who’ll make up Illinois’ secondary. Whether or not Finney fills the “Star” role — and whether or not you count it as a secondary spot rather than a linebacker role —an Illini program early in the stages of improving its depth will be tested on the back end.


The Latest
The former couple noted that deciding where to settle down contributed to their decision to go their separate ways.
Joey Miller, 25, was arrested Thursday and now faces three felony charges: first-degree attempted murder, home invasion and aggravated battery, police said.
Larry Walker, 37 and of the Humboldt Park neighborhood, is facing charges for attempted murder and aggravated battery, police said.
The string of robberies started at about 4:45 a.m. in the 1300 block of North Halsted Street when a 29-year-old man was getting out of his car and a black sedan pulled up and four to five men got out and pointed guns at him, police said.
The high court is reviewing a law that’s popular among federal prosecutors — including those pursuing former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.