The ounce of hope Northwestern fans had of seeing running back Venric Mark return this season was shattered Monday when coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Mark will miss the rest of the season with a fractured ankle.
Northwestern started the season 4-0 but has lost the last five games, all Big Ten matchups. To be eligible for a bowl, the Wildcats need to win two of the remaining three games against Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois.
After totaling 1,366 yards last season, Mark will finish this season with just 97 rushing yards.
Mark, who broke his ankle on Oct. 12 against Wisconsin, played his only full game the week before against Ohio State after suffering a leg injury early in the season.
"We're disappointed for him, first and foremost," Fitzgerald said in his announcement. "It's not that the injury has gotten worse. It just hasn't gotten any better."
Mark will try to return in the 2014 season with a medical redshirt.