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.
The Gophers' mental health has improved a lot this week, thanks to a blowout victory over Purdue. But physically, they still have lots to be worried about.
That's why receiver A.J. Barker, middle linebacker Mike Rallis and offensive tackle Ed Olson will all sit out practice on Tuesday, in hopes of speeding up the healing process in advance of Saturday's game against Michigan.
"Maybe the extra day (will help)," Minnesota coach Jerry Kill said at his weekly press conference. "That's what we did with MarQueis (Gray) last week, and he played much quicker and faster."
Olson and Rallis have been dealing with ankle sprains, and it kept both playing as much as they hoped on Saturday. Olson missed his second straight game altogether, and Rallis only played in the early part of Saturday's victory over Purdue.
Barker's injury is in the back of his ankle, near his achilles tendon, and also kept the Gophers' leading receiver from contributing in the second half. "For the young man's sake -- he's had such a good year -- you hope he's able to play," Kill said.
Michigan is dealing with a notable injury, too, one that's getting national notice. Quarterback Denard Robinson sat out the second half of the Wolverines' loss at Nebraska on Saturday after experiencing nerve damage in his right elbow. But Robinson can grip a ball again, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Tuesday on the Big Ten's conference call, and "he should be fine," the coach said. "It's one of those things that flares up now and then depending on how he gets hit. But he gets better every day."
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