Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. has missed two games because of a left hamstring injury he aggravated Sept. 30 vs. Maryland, and Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said the team might seek a medical redshirt for the sophomore.
“It just depends on how well he comes back,” Fleck said. “It’s one of those injuries that can take a long time and he’s already hurt it once, reinjured it again, so now we want to be really cautious with it.”
Under the NCAA’s medical hardship rules, a player can apply for an extra year of eligibility if the season-ending injury occurs before the second half of the season, and the player hasn’t played in more than three games or 30 percent of the schedule, whichever is greater.
Winfield, who originally hurt the hamstring Aug. 8 in training camp, hasn’t played since the first quarter of the fourth game, meaning he has played in 13 quarters, or 27 percent of the Gophers’ 48 quarters this season.
“We’ll just see as he continues to progress when he’ll be back,” Fleck said. “But we know that we’re going investigate that if we have to.”
Winfield’s hamstring isn’t the only injury concern. The Gophers lost tight end Brandon Lingen (ankle) and guard Vincent Calhoun (leg) against Michigan State after losing wide receiver Phillip Howard (head), tackle Nick Connelly (leg) and cornerback Kiondre Thomas (leg) at Purdue.
“We got some more guys hurt this past game, too, so this is going to be very interesting,” Fleck said.
Fleck added that some of the injuries over the past two weeks are potentially season-ending but declined to reveal to whom that applied.