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Illinois wide receiver Edwin Carter (80) and wide receiver Jordan Holmes (84) celebrate after the first touchdown in the second quarter against Western Illinois. More photos at www.Herald-Review.com

CHAMPAIGN — Edwin Carter's college debut was impressive but short-lived. Illinois coach Lovie Smith revealed Monday that the freshman wide receiver will miss the remainder of the season with a "significant" knee injury after taking a hard hit in the end zone Saturday against Western Illinois.

The news came one week after Illinois announced veteran receiver Mike Dudek had been lost for the season with a knee injury in the opener against Kent State.

Smith said sophomore receiver Ricky Smalling, who led the Illini with 70 receiving yards in the opener, was "close" to returning from a leg injury that kept him out against WIU. That offered hope that Smalling could be available Saturday against South Florida at Soldier Field.

The Illini (2-0) also hope to welcome back quarterback AJ Bush Jr., who left the 34-14 victory over WIU in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.

The 6-foot-3 Carter, a three-star recruit from Jacksonville, Fla., did not play in Week 1 but made a promising debut against the Leathernecks. He caught second-quarter touchdown passes of 16 and 18 yards from fellow freshman M.J. Rivers II to give the Illini a lead.

On the second score, however, Carter took a hit to the knees, spun in the air and landed on his head.

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