Knee surgery likely for Northwestern's Wootton

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern junior defensive end Corey Wootton likely will undergo knee surgery in the coming weeks after sustaining an injury in the fourth quarter of Monday's Alamo Bowl loss to Missouri.

A team spokesman said Wootton, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, flew back home to New Jersey today and will undergo an MRI on his left knee, which he injured on a noncontact play. Northwestern expects to have a more detailed injury update on Wootton after the MRI results.

After recording 10 sacks, an interception and seven quarterback hurries, Wootton had been mentioned as a candidate to enter the NFL draft a year early. His serious knee injury likely means he'll be back for the 2009 season. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound end was granted a medical hardship waiver in 2005 following a neck injury, so he might seek a sixth year of eligibility if he can't return in time for Northwestern's season opener Sept. 5 against Miami (Ohio).