Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish will miss all of spring football practice because of a right knee injury that will require surgery, NIU confirmed today.
"Chandler will have surgery and will not be able to participate in our spring drills," NIU coach Jerry Kill said. "His return will depend on how the rehab process goes and we are certainly hopeful he'll be ready in August.
"In the meantime, we've got four quarterbacks on the roster this spring and we'll get those guys a lot of work."
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 on Nov. 12. Kill said on national signing day that Harnish's knee was a concern because the knee didn't feel right after making his comeback.
A date has not been set for the surgery, so there is no set timetable for Harnish's return.
Harnish, a two-year starter that has battled injuries as a freshman and a sophomore, has been NIU's leading passer the past two seasons. He threw for 1,670 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2009.
The four quarterbacks NIU will have available for the spring are: DeMarcus Grady (junior), A.J. Hill (redshirt freshman), Jordan Lynch (redshirt freshman) and Tommy Coughlin (redshirt freshman). Casey Weston will not be on campus until at least the summer.
Spring football practice for NIU begins March 23.