Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Northwestern hasn't endured an overwhelming number of injuries this season, but the Wildcats' health hits have been particularly damaging.
Senior running back Omar Conteh is the latest key player lost for the season. Conteh sustained a left knee injury on a noncontact drill during practice Wednesday and underwent surgery Friday to repair a ligament. Conteh had moved into a starting role after Tyrell Sutton suffered a dislocated wrist Oct. 25 at Indiana and underwent surgery. Sutton could return for a bowl game.
To combat the depth issues in the backfield, head coach Pat Fitzgerald has moved freshman wide receiver Jeravin Matthews to running back. Sophomore Stephen Simmons will start Saturday at Michigan (ESPN2, noon ET), but Matthews, who has been used on kickoff returns, will be available in relief.
Fitzgerald also reiterated that senior quarterback C.J. Bacher will start when his injured right hamstring heals sufficiently. Bacher has missed the last two games but practiced all last week.