Illinios Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois senior standout Paul Ruggeri will be out for the season, as an MRI on Friday confirmed a ruptured peroneal ligament on the lateral side of his left ankle. The Manlius, N.Y., native was competing on vault on the final day of the U.S. Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas on Feb. 5 when the injury occurred. He will have surgery known as peroneal retinaculum repair on Tuesday, with recovery time estimated at two and a half months, and will likely be eligible to redshirt and return for the 2011-12 season.

"Paul is truly irreplaceable as an athlete," head coach Justin Spring said. "The team is going to take a hit. At the same time, we're strong and we're deep and we've got 17 other guys that will step up and carry us on through Big Tens and NCAAs. We still have a great shot at both."

Ruggeri led the team with seven individual titles through three meets this season and owned the team-best score on vault and high bar. For his career, the seven-time All-American boasts three NCAA titles (parallel bars, high bar (2)), four Big Ten titles (floor, vault, parallel bars, high bar) and was the U.S. national champion on high bar in 2009. Ruggeri also holds school records on vault, parallel bars, high bar and the all-around under the FIG open-ended code of points established in 2008.