DeKALB – The Northern Illinois football team is faced with more crucial defensive player absences as Kyle Pugh has been ruled out for the 2019 season with an injury suffered in the Utah game to his shoulder.
Hammock also ruled out true freshman cornerback Mark Aitken for the rest of the season. Aitken's injury was sustained in prep for the Utah game.
Coach Thomas Hammock officially announced the news at a Tuesday press conference.
“I think he’s a strong-minded individual. I think he’s excited about getting healthy and seeing where he can continue to have an opportunity to play," Hammock said. "I’m excited about him. His attitude has been positive. He’s a great leader. That’s some of the things that you’re going to miss, is the leadership qualities outside of his playing. He’s excited. He’s already attacking his recovery, and we look forward to having him back.”
Pugh missed the 2017 season after tearing his bicep and had offseason surgery on his shoulder after the 2018 season.
The Huskies already were without defensive starters at several spots, including defensive end Quintin Wynne and defensive tackle Ben LeRoy, for the Nebraska game.
Safety and special teams player Marshé Terry was seen walking to the locker room in a boot and on crutches after the Nebraska game but was listed on the depth chart for this Saturday's upcoming game against Vanderbilt.
Terry was listed as the backup safety for this week's game. Pugh was listed as the first-stringer at middle linebacker before the Nebraska game but was ruled out beforehand.
Hammock said he knew that Pugh's injury was a bad one before the Nebraska game, but the Huskies didn't want to tip their hand.
“We knew it was serious at the time; you’re playing an opponent in Nebraska, and there was no need to put information out there until they saw for themselves is what really happened," Hammock said.
Would-be starter at outside linebacker Lance Deveaux also is out of action after having a procedure done.
This story will be updated with further news.