Gophers injury report vs UNLV: Edwards out, Wells still questionable
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 -- Aug. 29 vs UNLV
Freshman RB Berkley Edwards (ankle sprain) -- Out
• Edwards has been officially ruled out for the Gophers' season opener with a right ankle sprain.
Since Edwards suffered the injury on Aug. 21, coach Jerry Kill has been hesitant to put a timetable on the blazing 5-foot-9, 190-pound tailback's return. But Kill sounded hopeful Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches' teleconference that Edwards could be ready by the Gophers' Week 2 match-up with New Mexico State.
Edwards has been targeted to enter the Gophers' running back rotation as a true freshman, with a speedy skill set that differs from the others in the rotation. However, Edwards' injury could alter those plans depending on how he progresses in the next few weeks.
Junior safety Derrick Wells (shoulder/hamstring) -- Questionable
• Wells' status is "no doubt" a major question mark heading into Thursday, Kill said.
Wells has been limited off and on throughout fall camp with a lingering shoulder issue (deep bruise). Wells, a critical figure in the Gophers' secondary, was starting to get his shoulder injury in-check when he went down with hamstring tightness last week.
If Wells is unable to go against UNLV, watch for junior Briean Boddy to start instead
While the Gophers have solid depth at corner, Wells' absence would be felt the strongest in nickel packages. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys likes to use his nickel corners to provide a formidable blitzing presence, and Wells' blend of speed and physicality fits that mold well.
Without Wells, the Gophers would lose a bit of that favorable size in nickel. Sophomore Eric Murray, the probable starter in the other cornerback spot, Boddy and safety Brock Vereen are possibilities to replace Wells at nickel, having all taken reps in practice lately at the spot.
RS senior WR Derrick Engel (groin) -- Probable
• In positive news for the "U" wide receiver corps, Engel has returned to full practice after being limited due to a groin injury. Kill was confident the redshirt senior would have "fresh legs" and be ready to go Thursday.
Freshman WR Drew Wolitarsky (hamstring) -- Probable
• Wolitarsky had been sidelined with hamstring tightness but returned to practice last Thursday. Kill hinted on Tuesday Wolitarsky could see playing time in Game 1, along with fellow freshman receiver Donovahn Jones.
RS junior TE Alex Bisch (foot) -- Out
Sidelined for the last few weeks with a foot injury, Bisch has been listed as out on the Gophers' official injury report, which was released Tuesday.
Sophomore DL Jordan Hinojosa (undisclosed) -- Out
Hinojosa was slotted as out with an undisclosed injury. Hinojosa, who transferred from Coffeyville Community College in the time to join the Gophers for spring practice, has been floated as a potential redshirt candidate.
Sophomore WR Andre McDonald (suspension) -- Out
In the latest development in his troubled young collegiate career, McDonald was removed from the Gophers' 105-man roster midway through fall camp. Kill has said McDonald's status will be reevaluated after Week 1.