Thomas ready for surgery, next fall

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MADISON, Wis. – Joe Thomas, a second-team All-America offensive tackle and a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District V choice in 2005, recently underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam. Following are statements from both Thomas and Wisconsin head football coach Bret Bielema.
Joe Thomas statement …
"An MRI exam, which I had this past Friday, showed that I tore the anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee during the Capital One Bowl game against Auburn. Now, I will have surgery and begin the rehabilitation process as soon as possible. I am looking forward to next season and I am anxious for our program to continue where it left off in Orlando. I want to thank all of our fans for their support of me and our team."
Bret Bielema statement …
"Joe Thomas is one of the top players in college football and I am confident he will be back stronger and better than ever in 2006. I know Joe will turn this temporary setback into a positive because that is the type of person he is. He will be under the care of our sports medicine and strength and conditioning staffs, which means he will be in very capable hands. I look forward to Joe's return to action. We will be counting not only on his playing ability but his leadership qualities as well."
Thomas was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2005 and was a 2005 Lombardi Award semifinalist. He has been a two-year starter at left tackle for the Badgers. He injured his knee against the Tigers while filling in on the Badgers' injury-riddled defensive line.