CHAMPAIGN - Illinois will be without it's leading tackler when the team takes the field this Saturday against Minnesota.
Linebacker Jonathan Brown, injured in the first half against Ohio State last weekend, was ruled out after seeing doctors Monday about his shoulder, according to coach Tim Beckman.
It's unclear whether the junior will play again this season.
"We'll see. We'll do it week by week," Beckman said.
Brown recorded 59 tackles, including 9.5 for loss and two sacks while appearing in every game. He missed two starts earlier this year due to a sprained ankle. Freshman Mike Svetina replaced Brown in the lineup against Wisconsin and Michigan and is the likely candidate to start alongside fellow freshman Mason Monheim Saturday.
Houston Bates, the sophomore who started the first two games of the season, is fully recovered from a high ankle sprain and will compete this week in practice with Svetina to replace Brown.
"It's one of those high ankle injuries, and when you get one of those they seem to linger longer than most injuries, but he's back to 100 percent now," Beckman said.
Beckman said decisions regarding the starting lineup will be made at the conclusion of Thursday's practice.
To provide depth, senior fullback Zach Becker moved to linebacker for Tuesday's practice. He came to Illinois as an All-Conference and All-Area selection at linebacker from St. Joseph-Ogden High before moving to offense his freshman season.
"Zach Becker is a team player," Beckman said. "That's what Zach is. He's doing whatever he needs to do to help this football team. Again, that speaks to Zach Becker and the type of young man he is."