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Updated: September 20th, 2013 10:26am
Gophers injury report: Philip Nelson officially listed as questionable

Gophers injury report: Philip Nelson officially listed as questionable

by Nate Sandell
1500ESPN.com
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Minnesota Gophers injury report -- Sept. 21 vs San Jose State

Sophomore QB Philip Nelson (hamstring) -- Questionable

• Nelson was listed as questionable on the Gophers' weekly depth chart, released Friday morning, but coach Jerry Kill and company don't seem ready to take any chances.

Redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner is being prepped to make his first career start, while Nelson continues to recover from a right hamstring strain that knocked him out in the second quarter of the Gophers' victory over Western Illinois last week.

Nelson, who has started 10 consecutive games since debuting midseason as a freshman in 2012, has been limited in practice throughout the week. Kill said Wednesday Nelson was taking practice reps, but had yet to test the injured hamstring on the run.

Leidner filled in for Nelson last week when he was knocked out of the game, helping guide the Gophers on a second half rally against FCS Western Illinois.

If Nelson indeed sits out and Leidner moves up to No. 1, true freshman Chris Streveler will take over as the Gophers' primary backup quarterback. Kill made clear that he would show no hesitancy to play Streveler Saturday, regardless of his potential redshirt status.

RS junior RB Donnell Kirkwood (ankle sprain) -- Not listed

• Out since injuring his ankle in the first game of the season, Kirkwood returned to full practice earlier in the week, but his role against San Jose State is expected to be limited despite not being listed on the injury report.

Kill noted the 15-game starter is still trying to regain his pre-injury rhythm. For now, the Gophers have the luxury for to play it safe with Kirkwood. Tailbacks Rodrick Williams Jr. and David Cobb have combined for 424 rushing yards and six of the Gophers' 10 touchdowns in three games.

Williams and Cobb were both slotted above Kirkwood on the Gopher's most recent depth chart.

Freshman RB Berkley Edwards (ankle/knee sprain) -- Not listed

• Once a prime candidate to enter the "U" running back rotation right away, Edwards is likely to take a redshirt in his first season on campus after missing the first three games with a strained knee and ankle.
Sidelined since the last week of fall camp, Edwards, a highlight of the Gophers' 2013 freshman class, was cleared to practice again at the beginning of the week.

Kill has declined from definite statement on Edwards' redshirt status, but the coaching staff has discussed preserving the speedy freshman's initial year of eligibility.

RS senior LT Ed Olson (ankle) -- Not listed

• Olson, who is trying to make a comeback from major offseason ankle surgery, is projected to miss his third consecutive week.

The 27-game starter's absence has opened the way for redshirt freshman Ben Lauer. At the start of fall camp, Lauer was No. 3 on the depth chart at left tackle behind Marek Lenkiewicz and Olson.

But Lauer has since made a strong bid for playing time. After starting the first three games, Lenkiewicz was replaced on the Gophers' second offensive series last week against Western Illinois.

Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover confirmed Wednesday that Lauer will start on Saturday.

Sophomore DE Alex Keith (hand) -- Not listed

• Keith broke his hand in the waning minutes of the Gophers' win at New Mexico State. He sat out against Western Illinois, but could potentially see playing time on Saturday. Keith has stayed on the depth chart at No. 2 behind starter Thieren Cockran.

RS freshman LB Nick Rallis (mono) -- Out

• Rallis will sit out his third game in a row, still battling symptoms of mononucleosis. Kill said on his weekly radio show Thursday that Rallis wouldn't be cleared until next week. Redshirt sophomore Dominic Schultz has since moved into Rallis' No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Aaron Hill.

RS junior TE Alex Bisch (foot) -- Out

• Sidelined since early on in fall camp with a foot injury, Bisch has once again been ruled out. As the Gophers unveiled against UNLV, redshirt sophomore Ernie Heifort was moved from center to tight end largely to fill Bisch's spot.

Junior CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) -- Out for season

• The Gophers' secondary suffered a heavy blow when Boddy-Calhoun, who had started two straight games, suffered a torn ACL and MCL on the second play against New Mexico State on Sept 7. He underwent surgery last week.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to 1500ESPN.com.
Email Nate | @nsandell
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