When right guard Spencer Long went down clutching his left knee during the first half of Saturday's 44-7 win over Purdue, many feared the worst for the All-American candidate. On Tuesday's Big Ten Teleconference, Bo Pelini confirmed that Long will miss the rest of the year.
"Spencer's out and he'll be getting surgery on Thursday," Pelini said. "Fortunately for him, we don't think it was quite as bad as it obviously could have been, but it looks like he'll be out for the year. But the prognosis for him going forward looks a little better."
A first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2012, Long was voted as one of four permanent captains before the season and was a Preseason Second-Team All-American. The senior figured to be a mid-round pick in next year's NFL Draft, but has medical school should he choose to not go that route.
Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said after the game Saturday that Long's injury isn't going to change what the offense tries to do.
"We just have to go about our business," Beck said. "It's just hard. You've got an All-American candidate who can't play, so you lose a little oomph. You lose a bit of your rotation and freshness, but it's football."
Mike Moudy, who had been splitting snaps evenly with Jake Cotton at left guard, will get the first crack at replacing Long. Moudy played the rest of the Purdue game on the right side, which he hadn't done since the end of fall camp. He admitted that adjusting back to the right side required a series or two to get used to again, but that he was feeling comfortable by the end of the game.
"I just saw him go down and I knew I had to step up," Moudy said. "(Long) is one of the captains and one of the main voices on our line. We took that as an initiative to play for him. When a guy of his stature goes down, you kind of want show and give him that respect. We came together as a unit and rallied behind him."
On Saturday, offensive line coach John Garrison listed sophomores Ryne Reeves and Givens Price as other players who could help fill the void left by Long. Pelini also didn't close the door on using Chongo Kondolo, a junior college transfer who the Huskers had intended on redshirting.
"He's a possibility," Pelini said. "We'll see how this week goes and see who steps up. We're looking at all our options."