Marcus Jones, whose 92-yard kickoff return Oct. 8 at Purdue was the Gophers' first kick-return touchdown in four years, suffered a knee injury during practice Wednesday and will not play Saturday against Iowa, the team announced.
Jones, a true freshman and one of the bright spots in Minnesota's 1-6 season, did not practice Thursday, but the severity of his injury has not yet been established, a team spokesman said. Jones is also the Gophers' starting slot receiver, and has made nine catches for 142 yards this season, a 15.8 per-catch average that's second on the team.
The true freshman from Rolesville, N.C., ranks third in the Big Ten in kick-return yardage, averaging 28.5 yards per return. He has one return touchdown this year, but a second one was nullified by a penalty at Michigan.
Duane Bennett is likely to take Jones' place on kick returns, while Malcolm Moulton is listed as Jones' backup at receiver on the Gophers' depth chart.
Kicker Chris Hawthorne, who did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday because of a strained right hamstring, is not on the Gophers' injury list and might be healthy enough to play Saturday.