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Northwestern press conference notes: 11/11

EVANSTON, Ill. -- With three games remaining (Michigan, Michigan State, at Illinois) on Northwestern’s schedule after the bye week, Pat Fitzgerald spoke to the media Monday in his weekly press conference.

-- The biggest news Monday was injury-related. Fitzgerald said running back Venric Mark will not return this season. “Venric will not be returning to participation this season,” he said. There is no word on whether Mark will be granted a fifth-year of eligibility via medical hardship, but the diagnosis of his injury – an ankle fracture – could bolster his case. Northwestern is expected to file a waiver request after the season.

-- Redshirt freshman running back Stephen Buckley underwent surgery after injuring his knee last week against Nebraska and should be ready to return to football activity after "approximately" nine months of rehabilitation. That timetable suggests he will likely miss all of spring practice.

-- Sophomore defensive end Dean Lowry, who sustained a lower-body injury against Iowa and missed the Nebraska game, is day-to-day, according to Fitzgerald.

-- Many of the players that Fitzgerald said would have missed a game this weekend (or would have been limited) were “full-go” in Monday’s walk-through. Some of the names he mentioned: linebacker Collin Ellis, cornerback Nick VanHoose, safety Jimmy Hall, running back Warren Long, defensive tackle Sean McEvily.

-- There were some interesting changes to the depth chart this week.