The University of Wisconsin Athletic Department announced Thursday morning senior Jack Cichy will miss the 2017 season due to a knee injury.

Cichy acquired the injury Tuesday during practice and is currently scheduled to have surgery on his knee Friday. This is a blow to the UW football team, who was relying on Cichy to anchor the lineback position this year.

After losing both TJ Watt and Vince Biegel last year, Cichy was going to be the cornerstone of the Wisconsin defense. The senior had a fantastic season in 2016, recording 60 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Cichy was also a leader off the field, and has earned numerous preseason accolades including the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Nagurski Trophy and the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

The only senior in a relatively inexperienced section, Cichy’s knowledge and strength was one of the most vital tools going forward this year for the Wisconsin defense. Without him, Wisconsin will rely heavily on TJ Edwards and Chris Orr.

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Edwards also had a great season last year, earning 89 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions. The Illinois native also recorded an interception and a forced fumble during the 2016 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

Orr played one game in the 2016 season before attaining the same ACL injury that Cichy currently has. During the 2017 spring practice, Orr admitted that he was looking forward to returning to the field after an injury of watching from the sideline.

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Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst told the UW Athletic Department he felt sorry for Cichy, but knew that the senior would still be an influential player moving forward.

“You hate it for Jack,” Chryst said. “You only get so many chances to play this game and you never want to see a guy miss any of those opportunities.”

Cichy already red-shirted during the 2014 season, but there is still hope that he might be able to attain a medical hardship waiver. This waiver acknowledges that an athlete’s injury was so debilitating, they could not play during the entire season, and due to this, do not lose a year of eligibility.

More about whether or not Cichy will be able to play a final year of football will be known later since Wisconsin will need to apply for the waiver, and the NCAA will need to approve the request.