University of Wisconsin junior quarterback Jon Budmayr has suffered yet another setback to his throwing elbow and as a result will miss all of spring practices.
That could place an even greater importance on the Badgers trying to land Maryland transfer quarterback Danny O’Brien.
UW coach Bret Bielema talked to reporters on Wednesday at UW’s pro timing day and said Budmayr is dealing with more bad news.
Back in mid-January, Bielema said Budmayr had resumed throwing and was 90 percent healthy. But the nerve problems in his right elbow, which resulted in surgery and forced him to miss all of last season, have flared up again.
“Kind of more of the same,” Bielema said when asked about the specific problem. “Had some of the stuff that flared up during the fall, unfortunately.”
It’s to the point where Bielema said football has been placed on the back burner, as Budmayr deals with the recurring problem.
“We’re just trying to get Jon healthy overall, before we even think about from a football standpoint,” Bielema said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him, he’s really going through a lot of appointments and meetings, hopefully going to get some answers for him soon.”
Budmayr initially suffered the problem during preseason camp last year. An impingement on a nerve in his elbow caused numbness in his fingers and resulted in surgery to move the nerve.
The problem flared up again in December, after Budmayr started throwing again.
“I don’t know if it’s career threatening,” Bielema said. “I know it’s more of the same, they haven’t really gotten a handle on it.
“I think like anybody, when you’re a person and you go to a doctor, you expect an answer and (when) it’s not there, it gets frustrating. So, we’re trying to find those things out.”
The only two healthy quarterbacks on UW’s roster are sophomore Joe Brennan and redshirt freshman Joel Stave, but Bielema said he’s not concerned about making it through spring workouts, which start on March 22.
“Those two quarterbacks are going to benefit a great deal. They’re going to get a lot of Matt’s attention,” Bielema said of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada.
The other quarterback currently on the team is senior Curt Phillips, who is recovering from three ACL surgeries on the same knee. Bielema said Phillips will be involved in passing drills during the spring which don’t involve a pass rush, or full-team situations.
“Curt, all passing situations, stuff that’s not live, he’ll be involved in that pretty good,” Bielema said.
The situation is desperate enough that the Badgers are expected to make a strong push to land O’Brien, who announced he is transferring after the spring semester and has expressed interest in UW.
A UW source indicated the Badgers would like to get O’Brien, but Bielema declined comment when asked about the chance of bringing in an outside quarterback.
Because O’Brien will graduate this spring, he can play immediately at another Football Bowl Subdivision school, as long as he enrolls in a graduate program not offered at Maryland.
It’s the same rule that allowed Russell Wilson to transfer from North Carolina State, another Atlantic Coast Conference school, and start immediately for the Badgers last season.
At least a dozen “well-recognized programs” have reportedly expressed strong interest in O’Brien.
Meanwhile, UW incoming freshman quarterback Bart Houston will have surgery soon to remove a cyst from his throwing shoulder, which is from a previous injury. That will cause Houston to be limited for preseason camp.
“Nothing (doctors) are overly concerned about,” Bielema said. “It will set him back as far as his timing to be with us 100 percent in the fall.”