NCF Nation: Shelby Harris

We already knew Wisconsin star running back John Clay would miss part of spring practice as he recovers from ankle surgery.

As it turns out, the Badgers won't take any chances with Clay, holding the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year out for the entire spring. Wisconsin opens spring ball Saturday.

Clay has had chronic problems in both of his ankles at Wisconsin and underwent surgeries to relieve the pain.
"The thing that excites me about his injury is I think [the surgeries will] give him relief, allow him to become a better football player," head coach Bret Bielema said Wednesday.

Bielema expects Clay to be ready for the start of summer conditioning in June.

This is definitely the smart move for Wisconsin, which knows what it can get from Clay in 2010. I totally understand if Badgers fans are alarmed by seeing their stud running back shut down for spring ball, but Clay's ankle issues needed to be addressed. He'll have plenty of time to recover and train this summer.

Montee Ball and Zach Brown will get more work in Clay's place this spring.

Bielema also said starting left tackle Gabe Carimi (knee) and center John Moffitt (undisclosed) will miss the first half of spring ball. The status of three suspended players -- wideout Kraig Appleton, defensive end Shelby Harris and linebacker Nick Hill -- won't change during spring ball.

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