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Updated: August 22nd, 2013 2:33pm
Gophers freshman RB Berkley Edwards out with high ankle sprain

Gophers freshman RB Berkley Edwards out with high ankle sprain

by Nate Sandell
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Seven days out from the Minnesota Gophers' season opener against UNLV, freshman running back Berkley Edwards' status is in question after suffering a high ankle sprain.

Edwards, one of top the recruits of the Gophers' 2013 freshmen class, injured his right ankle in practice Wednesday. After initially fearing the worst, X-rays showed no fracture, but it was determined to be a severe sprain, coach Jerry Kill confirmed Thursday.

Edwards was on the sidelines at practice Thursday wearing a protective boot over his right foot.

No timetable has been set on his return. While Kill did not sound overly concerned about the long-term severity of the injury, Edwards' availability for next week's opener is highly questionable.

"It's more of a high ankle type deal," Kill said. "You don't really know until things settle down if he'll be ready to go (next week) or not. We're fortunate it's not a broken leg or anything like that."

More than three weeks into fall camp, Edwards was already making a notable impact in the rotation at running back. Edwards' has garnered praise from his coaches and teammates for his eye-catching speed and steady progress.

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound tailback was being targeted to fit in right away with the Gophers' core group at running back, which includes redshirt junior Donnell Kirkwood, sophomore Rodrick Williams Jr. and redshirt junior David Cobb. In offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover's system, the Gophers use multiple running backs per game, upping the likelihood of the speedy Edwards getting a chance to make an impact early on.

Edwards will be monitored closely in the next few days to determine a more specific range for his return.

If Edwards' injury is truly a high ankle sprain, his recovery could last several weeks. Former Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray suffered a high ankle and knee sprain in the third game of last season. Although he returned to the field three weeks later, Gray said after the season that his ankle didn't feel "back to normal" until December when the Gophers were preparing to face Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Other injury notes

• Junior cornerback Derrick Wells was back in an orange non-contact jersey Thursday. Wells has practiced off and on for the last two weeks while nursing a deep bruise in his shoulder. The Gophers have been notably cautious with Wells, who is a crucial piece of the "U" secondary.

Kill is hoping to have Wells healthy and ready to go by kickoff against UNLV, but he said "time will tell" if the starting corner is cleared to play.

• Redshirt senior wide receiver Derrick Engel, recently slowed by a groin injury, was limited again in practice Thursday. Kill said he is looking for Engel to be at full strength by Saturday, when the Gophers begin their typical game week preparation for UNLV.

• Freshman receiver Drew Wolitarsky returned to full practice after being limited on Tuesday and Wednesday following his return from being sidelined with a tight hamstring.

• Apart from various "minor injuries," Kill expressed his relief to have gotten to this point in fall camp without major injury concerns.

"We don't have anything right now that is season-ending or anything like that," Kill said. "That's what you worry about when you're in camp."

• The Gophers have Friday off from practice

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell