LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska running back Tre Bryant, who missed the last five games because of a knee injury, will have surgery that likely will end his season, coach Mike Riley said Monday.
Bryant’s surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, and Riley said the sophomore from St. Louis would be a good candidate to get a season of eligibility back by petitioning for a medical redshirt.
“He has just been a warrior trying to get back,” Riley said, “but as we look at it for his long-term future with us, the best thing for him is to go ahead and get it done now.”
Riley hasn’t disclosed the nature of the injury, other than to say Bryant has struggled because of wear and tear on his right knee. He characterized the surgery as “corrective” and that it would give him his best chance to play again.
Bryant opened the season with 192 yards on a career-high 31 carries against Arkansas State. He ran 20 times for 107 yards against Oregon before the knee injury forced him out of the game.
Mikale Wilbon and Devine Ozigbo are listed as the co-No. 1 running backs for the game at Purdue on Saturday night. Freshman Jaylin Bradley is No. 3. Bryant beat out Ozigbo, the top returning rusher from 2016, and Wilbon for the starter’s job in preseason practice.
Though Bryant prevailed in a close competition, he was so impressive that the coaching staff decided to give him the majority of snaps rather than employ a running back rotation like was used last season.
“As we look back at those first two games, he made the most of it for sure,” Riley said. “It was exciting. He had a lot of good plays and showed really what he’s capable of doing. I’m hopeful for him that he can get this fixed now and have plenty of time to play once again like he’s capable of playing.”