Initial fears were confirmed.
The non-contact injury that running back D.J. Knox suffered in the first half of Purdue’s spring game was indeed a torn anterior cruciate ligament, just as Darrell Hazell suspected. He confirmed the news on Doug Zaleski’s radio show on WXFN.
That would likely rule out Knox for the entire 2016 season.
The junior was expected to form one of the B1G’s best backfield tandems alongside freshman sensation Markell Jones. Knox rushed for 409 yards and two touchdowns and caught 26 passes for 189 yards in 2015.
That means Purdue will turn to one of several candidates to complement Jones. Keyante Green, Tario Fuller, David Yancey and Richie Worship could all get a crack at No. 2 duties, as could incoming freshman Brian Lankford-Johnson.
Knox was the second No. 2 tailback in the B1G West to suffer a torn ACL this spring. Illinois running back Dre Brown suffered the same injury during practice earlier in the week. Like Purdue has in Jones, Illinois also boasts a capable second-year starter in Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Assuming he doesn’t play in 2016, Knox will still have two years of eligibility when he returns in 2017.