Sources: Wisconsin RB Chez Mellusi likely done for season

Wisconsin running back Chez Mellusi is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a fractured fibula in Friday's game at Purdue, sources told ESPN.

Mellusi was injured in the fourth quarter of Wisconsin's 38-17 victory when Purdue's Kydran Jenkins came down on his left leg after tackling him. The Badgers senior left the field on a cart but flew back to Wisconsin with the team afterward. Mellusi had 307 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 51 carries before the injury, including 39 yards on 11 carries against Purdue.

Starting running back Braelon Allen acknowledged Mellusi following a touchdown run in the final minutes, making a heart sign with his hands and holding up a single finger for Mellusi's jersey number.

"If we lose him for a while, it will be tough," Badgers coach Luke Fickell said after the game. "He's not just a great football player for us, he's not just a great tailback. He's been a heart and soul of what we do, because of what he's gone through, all of the ups and downs, and the injuries. To have the attitude that he has, he's a big part. If he can't go for a while, he'll still be a really big part of what we do."

Mellusi is in his third season with Wisconsin after transferring from Clemson. He started nine games in 2021 and has 1,595 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns as a Badger. Because Mellusi suffered the injury in the fourth game this fall, he could be eligible to return for a sixth season in 2024.

Sophomore Jackson Acker is expected to take on a bigger role alongside Allen in Mellusi's absence.