Lucas at Large: Budmayr forced to play waiting game

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UW quarterback Jon Budmayr was more alarmed than scared the first time.

"At first,'' he said of the tingling in his fingers, "I kind of knew what it was, so it wasn't scary.''

That was in early August. Now the tingling has been replaced by numbness.

"These two fingers are completely numb,'' he said, wiggling the little finger and ring finger on his right hand -- his throwing hand. "Towards this point, it kind of creeps into your head a little bit.''

Budmayr, who came into the fall as the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, is hoping to get some answers as soon as Thursday when he visits a nerve specialist in Madison.

"I have unbelievable faith in our doctors,'' he said.

But there is a worst-case scenario: surgery.

That would put an end to his season.

Budmayr is not ready to throw in the towel; not yet, not until every option is exhausted.

"God has a plan for me and this is just part of the journey,'' he said. "It's just a matter of figuring out how we're going to treat it (his arm) so that we can take the steps to move forward.''

Budmayr had to take a step back the first week of training camp when his right elbow acted up. X-rays showed that he was suffering from a ruptured bursa sac; accounting for the swelling.

"That was the initial diagnosis, which was correct,'' Budmayr said. "The bursa sac cleared up and we expected the numbness and tingling to go away, which it hasn't.''

He has encountered the tingling sensation in his fingers and soreness in his elbow before.

"But for whatever reason in this camp,'' he said, "it got to a point where I just couldn't throw. I didn't have any velocity on my passes like I had before so that's why we shut it down completely.

"Basically, there's something going on with the ulnar nerve. At the beginning, the swelling was causing the irritation. We got the swelling out but it's still causing a problem.''

So that's why Budmayr is taking the next step: seeing a specialist.

"We'll get it figured out,'' he said confidently.

Until then, the splint will remain to immobilize his right arm.

"When I bend it,'' he said, "there's a shock that goes through my arm into my fingers.''

Budmayr has tried adjusting by doing everything with his left arm; writing, brushing his teeth, etc. He has been also adjusting to a different role during practice as a de facto quarterback coach.

"I'm embracing my new role,'' said Budmayr, a redshirt sophomore from Woodstock, Ill.

That largely entails working with redshirt freshman Joe Brennan and true freshman Joel Stave.

"I've been helping them anyway I can,'' he said.

Truth is, they've both been getting more reps in Budmayr's absence.

"They've definitely made strides and both of them are benefiting from the reps they're getting,'' he said. "The best way to learn is through the reps. And they've improved a lot from last spring.''

Budmayr has also tried to assist Russell Wilson, who has taken over as the No. 1 quarterback.

"He's done a great job of picking it up,'' he said of the offense. "Now there are just little things. Since I've been through it longer, he'll ask questions and I try to give him as much feedback as I can.''

Has Budmayr been surprised on how quickly Wilson has gained command of everything?

"I am surprised because it's pretty complex, 'he said. "At the same time, he came in here full-go and you could tell this was important to him. All that work over that first month is paying off now.''

On Sunday, Wilson and fullback were Bradie Ewing were named co-captains on offense.

Guess who couldn't be happier by the results of the vote?

"It's a great deal to have them represent us,'' Budmayr said. "Like I've said many times, Russell is a good guy and he's a Badger now, which is great for us. Bradie has been a Badger his whole life.''

Budmayr is still a Badger, too. Don't forget that. Don't forget him.

"It's so hard to be out here watching the guys go through these practices,'' he said wistfully. "My biggest thing is getting healthy so I can get back out there with them. I just want to play.''

2 Comments

Remind Jon of the Ron VanderKelen story

Jon Budmayr good kid but his first name is Frank..............

Tell him hello and to keep his chin up.