Gophers injury report vs Michigan: Backup QB Chris Streveler ruled out
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
Minnesota Gophers injury report -- Oct. 5 at Michigan
Junior CB Derrick Wells (shoulder) -- Not listed/probable
Both coach Jerry Kill and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys have admitted they are concerned about how Wells' injured right shoulder will hold up, but the junior cornerback was left off the Gophers' official injury report on Thursday and is still projected to start against Michigan.
After tweaking his shoulder on Iowa's opening drive last week, Wells came in and out of the game, sidelined in the third quarter for the remainder of the afternoon after reaggreavating the injury.
Although limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, Wells has reassured the coaching staff he will be ready to go on Saturday. Wells is critical figure in the "U" secondary, which has already lost one key member this season -- Briean Boddy-Calhoun.
But the resurgence of senior backup Jeremy Baltazar in the last two weeks could allow the Gophers to be cautious with Wells if necessary. Baltazar slid down the depth chart after a disappointing fall camp. However, the second-year cornerback out of Blinn junior college had a strong performance in Minnesota's loss to the Hawkeyes -- his longest sustained game action since arriving on campus last season.
Freshman QB Chris Streveler (hand) -- Out
After going through three starting quarterbacks last season, the Gophers are hoping starter Philip Nelson and key backup Mitch Leidner stay healthy. That has become especially true this week after Streveler, the Gophers' No. 3 quarterback, injured his hand during a passing drill.
The injured hand has kept Streveler out of practice and will keep him back home in the Twin Cities this weekend. In his absence, fellow true freshman Conor Rhoda, one of the Gophers' two scout team quarterbacks, has taken over Streveler's third-team reps.
Streveler hasn't logged any playing time yet, keeping his redshirt intact, but the Gophers have positioned the true freshman as the successor to Nelson and Leidner if it came to that.
RS senior Mike Henry (ribs) -- Not listed/questionable
Injured in the first half of the Gophers' victory against San Jose State, Henry was kept on the sidelines of last Saturday's loss to Iowa. Henry's status has stayed questionable throughout the week, as he has been held to only limited non-contact reps in practice.
Kill noted Wednesday he was surprised by what Henry was able to do in practice, leaving open the possibility of the senior fullback being cleared to make the trip to Michigan. He was left off the Gophers' injury report.
The backup plan if Henry is unable to go calls for redshirt junior tight end Gabe Mezzenga to take over the bulk of the starting fullback duties. Mezzenga, who made his collegiate debut this season, has seen a steady rise in playing time in the last two weeks with Henry ailing.
RS junior RB Donnell Kirkwood (ankle sprain) -- Not listed/probable
An ankle injury suffered in the Gophers' first game of the season against UNLV derailed Kirkwood's season. But after a gradual recovery, Kirkwood appears geared to finally reclaim an elevated role in the offense.
Kill has been upbeat this week when discussing Kirkwood's status, noting after practice Wednesday that the 15-game starter "is really starting to come on." While sophomore Rodrick Williams Jr. and junior David Cobb have handled the bulk of the running back responsibilities in five games, Kirkwood has slowly folded back into the offense in the last two weeks.
Used only on special teams against San Jose State, Kirkwood came in on eight offensive snaps against Iowa. Cobb and Williams have a combined 651 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the year, but the immense struggles of the Gophers' run game last week -- 30 total yards -- has created an opening for the now healthy Kirkwood to potentially step back to the forefront of tailback crew.
RS junior TE Alex Bisch (foot) -- Out
Bisch has been out since early in fall camp with a broken foot. Kill has not given a timetable for Bisch's return.
Junior CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) -- Out for season
In what has been the most notable injury of the season for the Gophers, Boddy-Calhoun, a season opener starter, tore his ACL and MCL on the second play against New Mexico State on Sept 7. He underwent surgery on Sept 13.
The Gophers expect to Boddy-Calhoun to be approved by the NCAA for a medical redshirt, which would preserve his remaining two years of eligibility.