Heinz To Miss 3-4 Weeks After Surgery On Ankle; Wootton Misses Practice (Football)

David Morrison

Safety Bryan Heinz will have to wait at least three to four more weeks to make his senior debut, coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

Heinz underwent surgery Tuesday to repair ligaments in his ankle, which he injured at practice last Wednesday.

“My heart pours out for him,” Fitzgerald said.

Heinz walked on to the team before the 2002 season. After a redshirt year, he played 23 games in the next two years for Northwestern, recording 129 tackles and six interceptions.

Before last season, Heinz suffered a torn ACL in his left knee that sidelined him for the regular season. Heinz returned in time for NU’s Sun Bowl loss to UCLA, in which he made five tackles and one pick.

Heinz’s seven interceptions place him ninth on the Cats’ all-time list.

After sitting out the first five games this year, Heinz returned to practice two weeks ago and was set to see his first action against Wisconsin before re-injuring his ankle.

Fitzgerald said if Heinz cannot return this season, he is a “strong candidate” to become a sixth-year senior next year.

“He’s about all the right things in college football,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s what that opportunity should be about: rewarding players that are all the right things.

“There’s no better candidate in the country.”

Redshirt freshman defensive end Corey Wootton did not dress for practice Tuesday after sustaining unspecified minor injuries against Wisconsin.

Fitzgerald said Wootton likely will practice Wednesday, and he expects the end to play on Saturday.

“Without a bye week, you’ve got to be smart,” Fitzgerald said. “If you’ve got to take a guy and rest him for a day, you’ve got to rest him for a day.”

The Cats’ other starting defensive end, junior David Ngene, left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury and is listed as doubtful for the game against Purdue.

Ngene missed the first two games of the year with an injured knee.

-David Morrison