The Purdue football community and fan base received shocking news on Wednesday afternoon.
Purdue will now be without starting linebacker and fifth-year senior Markus Bailey after he suffered a likely season-ending knee injury during Tuesday's practice.
When I decided to come to Purdue, these lights didn’t exist. A lot didn’t exist. I came here to help rebuild a broken program. It’s been rebuilt. If there’s one thing being a Boilermaker has taught me, it’s how to deal with adversity. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. 💪🏽🚂 pic.twitter.com/CPuRPm1LtK— Markus Bailey (@mb_boiler21) September 11, 2019
Bailey, a team captain for the second year in a row, has been crucial to the Boilermakers’ success on the defensive side of the ball this season. Through two games, Bailey is tied for second on the team in total tackles (14) and third on the team in solo tackles (10).
With Bailey now on the sidelines, Purdue could immediately look to junior linebacker Cornel Jones and sophomore linebacker Kieren Douglas to replace Bailey’s production at the position spot. Jones played a majority of the season in 2018 and will bring some needed experience back to the table.
Head coach Jeff Brohm could also look to play some younger players to fill the void because of the new redshirt rule.
The new rule allows players to play in multiple games and still be eligible for redshirting, giving players experience yet saving eligibility.
Either way, Purdue’s attitude likely won’t change, and it will be looking to the next man up to fill the void.
Cornerbacks coach Greg Brown addressed the effects of the injury on Wednesday afternoon.
Sending our thoughts out to @BoilerFootball LB Markus Bailey, who suffered season-ending knee injury today in practice. One of our favorite players we watched this summer. @mb_boiler21, if you return to Purdue next year you’ll have a 2021 Senior Bowl invite waiting for you. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/TX80R0hRBB— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 11, 2019
“Things won’t change," Brown said. "When somebody goes down ... it’s the next man up. Let's see what they got”
Bailey decided to return for this season earlier this year, and he is also an NFL draft prospect. This injury means he has a tough decision to make. He could file a medical waiver claim and potentially get an extra year of eligibility or he could rehab and prepare for a potential future in the National Football League.
"We want to support him in every way we can," Brohm said shortly following the news of the injury.
It is also worth noting that last season fifth-year senior quarterback Elijah Sindelar won a medical waiver for injuries he sustained early in the year.
Coach Brown also addressed the idea of what Bailey might do from here.
“I can’t even begin to venture any opinions or guesses ... that's beyond my scope.”