Illinois WR Mike Dudek suffers another season-ending injury

Illinois wide receiver Mike Dudek suffered a season-ending knee injury in Saturday's opener against Kent State, the third such injury of his career.

Fighting Illini coach Lovie Smith announced the injury Monday. Dudek tore the ACL in his right knee in the spring of 2015 and again in the spring of 2016, forcing him to miss both ensuing seasons. His latest injury is to his left knee, Smith said.

"It's kind of hard to put it into words," Smith told reporters in Champaign. "... Mike has meant so much to our program."

Dudek also tweeted about his latest injury.

Dudek earned freshman All-America honors and second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2014, the only full season he played for Illinois. He set Illinois single-season records for both receiving yards (1,038) and receptions (76) that fall, and led the Big Ten in receptions (50) and receiving yards (716) during conference games.

Dudek had 24 receptions for 262 yards and one touchdown in seven games last season, missing the other five because of two separate injuries.

He had four receptions for 65 yards and a 7-yard rush in Illinois' 31-24 comeback win over Kent State.