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Northwestern running back Warren Long breaks hand, will be out for “at least four weeks”

The key backup and special-teamer leaves a big hole behind Justin Jackson

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Northwestern Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern senior running back and special teams ace Warren Long will miss at least four weeks after breaking his hand in the season-opening loss to Western Michigan, head coach Pat Fitzgerald confirmed.

Fitzgerald said that Long will be out for the foreseeable future and that they’ll reevaluate after “at least four weeks.”

Long left the game after his lone offensive contribution against the Broncos—a nine-yard rush—in clear discomfort. He was escorted by members of the training staff to the locker room where he also underwent testing and x-rays. Shortly after he departed, it was announced he would miss the remainder of the game, but no other details were given.

With Long out for an extended period of time, the Wildcats will truly see what they have behind him and Justin Jackson. John Moten saw some time in the season opener but did not register a stat. Behind him is Auston Anderson, followed by Chad Hanaoka and true freshman Jesse Brown. True freshman Jeremy Larkin is recovering from shoulder surgery.

It is absolutely paramount for Jackson to stay healthy now, as not only is he by far Northwestern’s best offensive weapon, but he’s also the only one with significant experience.

Not only does Long’s absence affect the run game, but he is also a standout special teams contributor, and he will be missed in that regard as well.

Long ran 60 times for 329 yards and five touchdowns last year.