Bielema: Illinois RB Brown's leg injury improving

by Ricardo Gutierrez - Illinois running back Chase Brown's right leg injury is "trending in the right direction," according to coach Bret Bielema. The Illini are in a four-way tie atop the Big Ten West heading into their game at No. 3 Michigan.

Illinois RB Chase Brown's leg injury improving, coach says 2:55 PM ET Blake BaumgartnerESPN Staff Writer Illinois coach Bret Bielema said Monday that junior running back Chase Brown is "trending in the right direction" ahead of the game Saturday at No. 3 Michigan . "Very positive and excited, but don't know where we'll be by Friday for the trip and Saturday for the game," Bielema said. Brown left in the final minute of the 31-24 loss to Purdue on Saturday with a right leg injury. Editor's Picks Illinois RB Brown helped off late with leg injury 2d Blake Baumgartner With the Fighting Illini down 10 points and driving deep in Purdue territory, Brown hauled in a 10-yard reception and fell awkwardly out of bounds as he was being tackled by linebacker OC Brothers . Brown had to be helped back to the Illinois bench and couldn't put any weight on the injured leg. Brown is the nation's leading rusher, with 1,442 yards, and he had 98 yards and two scores against the Boilermakers -- snapping his 10-game streak of 100-yard rushing totals dating back to last season. He became the second player in program history to rush for at least 3,000 career yards as he moved into second place (3,008) on the program's all-time rushing list (Robert Holcombe; 4,105 from 1994 to '97). Bielema also announced that sophomore cornerback Taz Nicholson will miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury. "He had a pretty significant injury," Bielema said of Nicholson. "He dislocated his wrist and played a couple more plays after it was dislocated, which was amazing. ... He had surgery on Saturday during the course of the game. ... He'll have a second wave of surgery. You're looking at a timetable of four to six months for him." Illinois (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) has dropped its past two games -- both at home -- and is now in a four-way tie atop the Big Ten West.