Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Some bad news out of practice Today:
Gophers safety Kim Royston — one of only two starters returning from last year’s defense — broke his left leg in practice. According to his father, Chris Royston, it was a compound fracture in which both bones were broken in the lower leg.
Royston had an initial procedure Tuesday evening to stabilize the leg. He will have surgery Thursday to repair the damage, a procedure that could include the insertion of a titanium rod to provide stability.
Coach Tim Brewster said he hopes Royston, who will be a senior, will recover in time for fall training camp.
“It’s a tough loss,” Brewster said. “We were in a seven-on-seven drill. He just got tangled up and fell awkwardly and broke his lower leg pretty good.”
Royston, a Minnesota native who played high school football for Cretin-Derham Hall, initially played at Wisconsin before transferring to Minnesota. As a junior last season Royston started every game for the Gophers, finishing third on the team with 86 total tackles while intercepting one pass. Perhaps his best game came against Iowa State in the Insight Bowl, when he had 15 tackles and a forced fumble.
His loss means the Gophers will finish spring ball without both starting safeties. Kyle Theret was suspended after being charged with fourth-degree drunken driving in late March, but will be back this fall. Among those who will work out at the position going forward are junior college transfer Christyn Lewis, freshman Kenny Watkins. Chase Haviland, a freshman, has also seen some snaps there this spring. Another JC transfer, Herschel Thornton, will be here in the fall, as will be incoming freshman James Manuel.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Bryant Allen, who fractured his right ankle in Saturday’s scrimmage at TCF Bank Stadium, has had successful surgery and is expected to be ready to start working out in June.
That's it. Have a good night.
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