Created:Wednesday, February 3, 2010 11:23 p.m.CDT

Harnish's knee 'a concern'

NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish might not be ready for spring football because of a knee injury. (Chronicle file photo)

NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish might not be ready for spring football because of an injured right knee, coach Jerry Kill said after Wednesday's news conference. It is the same knee the quarterback injured during his sophomore season.

"It's a concern," Kill said. "It's a situation where he had surgery on it, then he came back and played three games and he still didn't feel like it was really right and he's had some problems since then. He's seen some doctors and they're evaluating the situation. We couldn't afford to take a chance. We're just not going to."

As for Harnish's availability for spring football, Kill said: "Don't know. They're evaluating that. As soon as I know exactly what's going to take place, I will have no problem telling you."

Harnish injured the knee against Toledo on Oct. 17 and missed the next three games. He played in the final four games of the season, starting with the second half against Ball State.

Spring practice begins March 23 for the Huskies.

NIU did add a junior college quarterback in Casey Weston from Northwest Mississippi Junior College. Weston holds the school records for career passing yards (4,943), completions (394), attempts (695) and he threw 42 touchdowns in his career.

"We're driving down the road in Alabama and we're talking about Chandler's situation with the knee and his health situation and we're worried about it right now," Kill said. "Do we take another quarterback? [One of our coaches] texts the head coach from Mississippi State (Dan Mullen) and five minutes later he texted him back and said, 'Hey, I know a guy we were going to offer but he can't come out next semester, bar none he's the best around. If you could get him, a feather in your cap.' "

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