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Updated: September 1st, 2012 1:19pm
Gophers wide receiver Jamel Harbison tears ACL, out for season

Gophers wide receiver Jamel Harbison tears ACL, out for season

by Nate Sandell
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Receiver Jamel Harbison's true freshman season with the Gophers football team lasted less than one game.

Coach Jerry Kill confirmed to reporters on Saturday afternoon that Harbison tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees in Thursday's opener at UNLV.

Harbison, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound North Carolina native, will miss the rest of the season and likely is facing a six-to-nine-month rehabilitation process. Kill said Harbison will receive a redshirt for the year, which gives him four years of eligibility starting in 2013.

"It's a big blow. He never really got a chance to get started in the game, because it happened early," Kill said. "I think Jamel had an opportunity to be one of our premier offensive players, but at the same time now I've got him for another four years."

Harbison had emerged in fall camp as one of the Gophers' top options at receiver and was in the starting rotation for the team's first five drives of the game.

Kill didn't pinpoint exactly when the injury occurred. Harbison grabbed a hand-off from quarterback MarQueis Gray near the 10-minute mark of the second quarter and went down hard on his right knee after a short two-yard gain. He did not reenter the game again.

By halftime, after meeting with the team doctor, Harbison was aware the injury was serious. He did rejoin the team on the sideline for the second half. 

Kill described the tear as "clean" and the MRI showed no damage outside of the ACL. He has not undergone surgery yet, but it is expected to take place in the next couple weeks.

Though Harbison is obviously dejected by the abrupt end to his season, he has gone right into the early stages of the rehab process.

"He was down yesterday, but he was already up (in the trainers room) running on the treadmill, getting it stronger for surgery," Kill said. 

Wide receiver was an area of concern for the Gophers entering the season as the unit is made up mainly of unproven players.

But Kill said he was impressed by the play of his receivers with the way they were able to get behind UNLV defenders on numerous occasions, stating it was one of the top positives that came out of Game 1.

The Gophers had six wide receivers record catches against UNLV for 203 of the team's 269 receiving yards.

Apart from Harbison, the Gophers reported no other injurie suffered on Thursday.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell