Nebraska linebacker Zaire Anderson — who started his first game Saturday — will miss the rest of the season because of an ACL tear in his right knee, NU coach Bo Pelini announced Tuesday.
“Unfortunate for him,” Pelini said. “He was really coming along. But it is what it is. And he’ll recover fully. Surprised all of us. But the kid’s hurting.”
Anderson said he was “devastated” by the injury, especially since he hurt the knee Sept. 11 during a drill. Anderson heard the knee pop, “but it was something I thought I could fight through,” he said.
He started vs. Arkansas State — finishing with three tackles — and had planned on practicing “full speed” on Tuesday until the MRI revealed the tear.
“I can stand on it right now, so I just don’t understand,” said Anderson, who will have surgery next week and is expected to fully recover. The one positive, he added, is that he’ll able to learn the defense better. Pelini said NU will explore medical redshirt options for the junior college transfer.
In Anderson’s absence, the Huskers will go back to relying on senior Alonzo Whaley and redshirt freshman David Santos, defensive coordinator John Papuchis said. Emergency options may include true freshmen Thomas Brown and Michael Rose.
“But I don’t know if we’re ready to go down that road,” Papuchis said.