Kill not setting a timetable on Gray's return from high ankle sprain
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A left high ankle sprain could sideline Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray for the next several weeks.
Coach Jerry Kill said Sunday that an MRI taken on Saturday confirmed the team's original diagnosis and didn't show any notable damage to Gray's knee. Gray will be revaluated Sunday to determine a timetable for his return.
Gray was carted off the field in the second quarter of the Gophers' match-up against Western Michigan on Saturday after getting his left leg caught awkwardly on a run up the middle. Kill mentioned that the training staff at first feared the extent of the injury was severe before X-rays taken later that night softened those concerns.
"I think we'll know a lot more today," Kill said. "As far as tearing an ACL or anything like that, it doesn't look like that happened, but he certainly got bent up pretty good ... I think initially they thought he broke his leg."
Kill wouldn't speculate on when Gray will be able to play, but said he usually expects a two to four week recovery window for high ankle sprains.
Until more is known about the extent of Gray's injury, the Gophers will proceed as if sophomore Max Shortell will start next week against Syracuse, with true freshman Philip Nelson slotted in as the back-up.
"Today, with what we know and where (Gray's) at, we'll get Max ready to go and Phillip ready to go and go that direction until we're told different," Kill said.
Shortell took over for Gray after he went down on the initial play of the Gophers' third possession of the second quarter. Shortell proceeded to lead a to 75-yard drive topped by a nine-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Barker to put the Gophers out to a 14-10 lead.
Shortell finished with 188 passing yards (10-of-17) and three touchdowns in his team's 28-23 victory.
Other injury updates
• Starting center Zach Mottla sat out Saturday with a high ankle sprain. Redshirt sophomore Zac Epping shifted right guard to replace Mottla at center. Like with Gray, when Mottla will be able to return to playing field is unknown.
Kill was pleased with Epping's performance, saying that he is the Gophers' "best offensive lineman right now. Period."
• Hampered by a dislocated right toe, cornerback Martez Shabazz is still one or two weeks away from being game-ready, Kill said. The Gophers have more depth in the secondary than they did a year ago, but cannot afford many personnel losses.
• Sophomore wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts missed playing time Saturday due to cramping in his legs. Kill didn't express any concern about it being a long-term problem.