Spread Thin By Injuries, Illini Put Team Manager on Active Roster

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois coach John Groce often says "next man up" as his team fights through injuries that have sidelined three starters.

The expression took on new meaning Friday when Groce added manager Ryan Schmidt to the roster for Saturday's game at Minnesota (12-8, 1-6 Big Ten).

Groce said Schmidt will ensure Illinois (13-7, 3-4) has enough players to practice. He called him "a really good high school player." Schmidt played at Bloomington Central Catholic.

The 6-0 senior guard changed his Twitter profile Friday to read "Former basketball manager & current walk-on."

Illinois lost starting point guard Tracy Abrams for the season to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Leading scorer and rebounder Rayvonte Rice broke a hand this month. And this week guard Aaron Cosby had surgery for a torn retina.

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