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Updated: September 26th, 2013 9:31pm
Gophers injury report vs Iowa: QB Philip Nelson not listed

Gophers injury report vs Iowa: QB Philip Nelson not listed

by Nate Sandell
1500ESPN.com
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Minnesota Gophers injury report -- Sept. 28 vs Iowa

Sophomore QB Philip Nelson (hamstring) -- Not listed

Nelson wasn't on the Gophers' injury report released on Thursday, but redshirt Mitch Leidner is still projected to start at quarterback in the Gophers' Big Ten opener on Saturday.

Nelson, recovering from a strained hamstring that has hindered him since the second quarter in a Gopher victory against Western Illinois, returned to practice earlier in the week and has gradually moved closer to full strength.

Coach Jerry Kill said Wednesday he hasn't imposed restrictions on Nelson's reps, allowing the 10-game starter to gauge how much he can push on his sore right hamstring.

The Gophers are keeping a slight veil of mystrey around who their starter will be, listing Leidner and Nelson side-by-side on the weekly depth chart.

However, with Nelson's status still somewhat questionable, the Gophers are likely to turn to Leidner again to produce an encore to his four-touchdown first career start last week against San Jose State.

Nelson should be available to take periodic snaps if needed Saturday, though Kill and the Gophers seem prepared to play it safe.

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

Depth, a newfound trait for the Gophers, has allowed Kirkwood, out since Game 1, to be eased back into the running back rotation.

Tailbacks Rodrick Williams and David Cobb have combined for 527 yards and eight touchdowns in the three games Kirkwood has missed with an injured ankle.

Kill noted that Kirkwood is "ready to play," but Cobb and Williams are projected to hold on to their spots atop the "U" depth chart this week. Kirkwood, who has practiced throughout the week, could see snaps on Saturday, with his role being that of a No. 3 option in the backfield

"We can be patient," Kill said. "If we need a spark or we run into a snag, he's definitely better than he was a week ago."

RS senior Mike Henry (undisclosed) -- Questionable

Henry is marked down as questionable with an undisclosed injury. Henry came out in the first half last week against San Jose State and went to the locker room with team trainers, but the senior fullback returned in the second half.

If Henry is unable to go, redshirt freshman tight end Maxx Williams would be the primary option in the Gophers' H-back/fullback spot. Redshirt tight end Gabe Mezzenga, who saw extended playing time last week, is also available to inherit some of Henry's responsibilities.

RS freshman LB Nick Rallis (mono) -- Probable

Rallis has moved back into the No. 2 slot at strongside linebacker on the "U" depth chart after missing three weeks due to a bout with mononucleosis. Redshirt sophomore Dominic Schultz filled the backup spot behind senior starter Aaron Hill in the three games Rallis missed.

Sophomore DE Alex Keith (hand) -- Not listed

Keith has been forced to wear a heavy cast on his broken hand, but he isn't allowing it to keep him sidelined. After sitting out against Western Illinois, Keith was back in the main defensive line rotation last week, slotted behind starter Thieren Cockran.

RS junior TE Alex Bisch (foot) -- Out

Bisch remains out with a broken foot, an injury he suffered early in fall camp. Redshirt sophomore Ernie Heifort was moved from center to tight end during camp in order 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 on Sept 13. Seniors Martez Shabazz and Jeremy Baltazar have both seen increased playing time in backup roles with Boddy-Calhoun out.

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