Red-White Spring Game 2017

Cornerbacks coach Donté Williams (L) gives direction to defensive backs, including Jackson Lamar (1) and Chris Jones (8), during Red-White Spring Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star

Reinforcements are coming.

Nebraska senior cornerback Chris Jones and senior safety Joshua Kalu have both been cleared and will play against No. 9 Wisconsin on Saturday night, head coach Mike Riley told reporters Thursday.

Jones is the bigger surprise, having torn his left meniscus in mid-July. At that point, he was given a 4-6 month recovery timetable, but his return to action will come after less than 2 1/2. He first donned a helmet last week and was first cleared for contact Monday.

"Chris looks good," Riley said. "You don't get cleared from that kind of injury without being able to do all the physical things they put him through in the tests. He looks fine, looks confident. Now, it's been a long time since he played football.

"He had four days of practice but otherwise hadn't done anything since spring ball. It's good to have him back."

Kalu suffered a hamstring injury Sept. 9 vs. Oregon and has not played since, though he's been working out and practicing for a couple weeks. Riley wouldn't say whether the team planned to start Kalu.

* Marcus Newby (hamstring) has practiced all week, minus Monday when he was ill, and is set to return at outside linebacker. Riley was coy about how he would be used. Luke Gifford moved to Newby's position on the field side and the Huskers have got good production from redshirt freshman Ben Stille on the boundary side, where Gifford started the season. 

* Junior tailback Mikale Wilbon (left ankle) didn't practice Thursday, but Riley said he felt, "much better" and had a good chance of contributing against the Badgers.

* Brenden Jaimes will start at right tackle and Riley said senior right tackle David Knevel (stress fracture, high ankle sprain in right foot) is close to returning but not 100 percent, per Riley. Sophomore Michael Decker will start at center.

* Riley said the two keys to a productive offense for the Huskers this weekend are protecting quarterback Tanner Lee and running the ball.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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