Iowa got a great season out of first-year starting quarterback C.J. Beathard in 2015. Beathard's performance was even more remarkable considering that he couldn't move effectively for nearly half of it.
Now he's getting that problem fixed. As first reported by HawkeyeReport.com and later confirmed by other outlets and the school, Beathard has undergone successful surgery for a sports hernia. He is expected to be sidelined for about six weeks.
That timeline would mean Beathard could be available to participate in Iowa's spring practice. But there is clearly no need to rush him back for that.
Beathard was gimpy after suffering a hit to his hip area in a Week 3 win against Pittsburgh. Midway through the season, there were questions whether he would play at Northwestern. He got through that game but was noticeably limping at times. Beathard moved around more effectively later in the season, notably against Indiana, when he scored on a leap into the end zone near the end of the first half.
Beathard ran for 237 yards on 100 attempts, with six touchdowns, for the season. His ability to extend plays and make throws on the move gave a much-needed spark to the Iowa offense.
"That's why we're excited to see him healthy," Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said earlier this month in his season wrap-up news conference. "He was still able to throw the ball fine, but mobility is such a big thing in football."
With a healthy Beathard, Iowa is likely the favorite to repeat as West Division champions. The surgery should allow him to get back to 100 percent, and the team can use this spring as a way to get his untested backups more experience. Beathard could have an even better season as a senior if he can add more of a running dimension to his game.