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.

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Injuries to Scott Ekpe and Alex Keith concerning for Gophers

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers injuries Updated: August 29, 2014 - 1:55 PM

Three Gophers defensive linemen are having MRIs for leg injuries today, and the team is particularly concerned about starting defensive tackle Scott Ekpe's right knee.

Ekpe injured his right knee early in Thursday's season opener. He went to the sidelines, had ice on the knee, and was later seen on crutches. Coach Jerry Kill didn't have any specific updates today, but confirmed that three players are having MRIs.

Defensive end Alex Keith also has a left knee injury that has the team concerned, and defensive tackle Yoshoub Timms appeared to injure his left ankle.

"You can’t lose any front-line players and be where you need to be," Kill said. "You can have all the depth in the world but then you get less depth. To be successful. You’ve got to stay healthy. You’ve got to be lucky, so hopefully we’ll get lucky on this deal, we’ll have to see."

Kill said he might not have details until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.

Kill said defensive end Michael Amaefula and wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky will be back from their respective injuries for the Sept. 6 game against Middle Tennessee State. Offensive tackle Ben Lauer also should be ready to return from his high ankle sprain.

Filling in for Amaefula, Keith had a terrific game against Eastern Illinois, with a sack, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

"Kids mature," Kill said of Keith. "I would say he’s the David Cobb of the defense. He’s matured. I just hope he’s OK."


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