Wisconsin senior shooting guard Taylor Wurtz has decided to sit out the remainder of the season, taking a medical redshirt for the 2012-13 campaign.

The 2011-12 all-Big Ten honoree had been sidelined for the Badgers’ last eight games with a nagging back injury that also kept her out of early season exhibitions. UW head coach Bobbie Kelsey noted that Wurtz’ best health interests led her to the decision.

“The health and well-being of Taylor has been and will continue to be our first priority so we are in total support of her decision to redshirt and have surgery,” Kelsey said. “The decision has always been up to Taylor and her parents with the guidance of our athletic trainer, Holli Dietrick, as well as our team physicians.”

Wurtz is expected to have surgery Thursday with early plans to return fully ready for the 2013-14 season. Given the severity of Wurtz’ injury, Kelsey is pleased with the news that Wurtz will be able to return next season.

“Her desire to continue her athletic career has always been secondary but we are happy that our team doctors exhausted all possibilities to find a viable solution to her ongoing back problem that will allow her to finish her athletic career on the court,” Kelsey said. “We expect for her to return next season stronger and more focused that ever.”

The 6-foot guard averaged 12 points and seven rebounds in the five games she played this season. Her absence has opened greater playing time for freshmen Dakota Whyte and Nicole Bauman, now centerpieces of Wisconsin’s rotation.

Nonetheless, the Badgers have gone 5-3 without Wurtz this season, and will look to improve upon that record as they open conference play at Nebraska Wednesday.