CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (AP) — Illinois defensive end Bobby Roundtree was speaking, eating and sitting up after severely injuring his spine in a weekend swimming accident near his Florida home, a school spokesman said Monday.

Roundtree had surgery at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor on Sunday, a day after the accident, the university announced earlier Monday. There were no details on what happened.

Athletic department spokesman Kent Brown said in an email to the AP later Monday that Roundtree remained hospitalized but he was able to "eat and speak normally."

Illinois coach Lovie Smith and assistants traveled to Florida to be with Roundtree and his family.

"This is devastating to his teammates, the entire Fighting Illini family and his family and friends," Smith said in a statement. "We will give Bobby all the support possible as he battles through his recovery."

Roundtree is from Largo, Florida, and has been one of the team's best players. He is heading into his junior year, having started 20 games in his first two seasons and making 11½ sacks. Last season, he was third on the team with 66 tackles, including 12½ for loss and 7½ sacks.


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