Gophers junior guard Nate Mason will miss Thursday's exhibition game against Bemidji State after suffering a concussion in practice this week.

Mason, who led the team in scoring (13.4) and assists (4.5) last season, suffered the concussion in practice Tuesday. He is sitting out the exhibition for precautionary reasons, according to a team spokesman.

In his final eight games last season, Mason was playing at an All-Big Ten level. But he was suspended for the Gophers' last four games for violating team rules. The Georgia native was motivated to prove to his teammates and coaches he could lead the Gophers this year.

Coach Richard Pitino expected Mason and sophomore forward Jordan Murphy to assume leadership roles, but senior Akeem Springs also brought experience as a graduate transfer.

Springs will replace Mason in the starting lineup Thursday, playing in the backcourt alongside sophomore Dupree McBrayer and freshman Amir Coffey, who will make his Gophers debut.

Also expected to play in their first game at the U will be junior center Reggie Lynch, freshman forward Eric Curry and freshman forward Michael Hurt.

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