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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Here's a quick rundown on the news from Coach Jerry Kill's press conference:
* Mitch Leidner will practice today.
"Like last week, the trainer said that he's banged up and so forth, but said he'd be at full speed today," Kill said. "We'll see. I can't tell you until we get out there, but that's where we're at as far as I know."
Kill added: "He did not break his toe; that's all I can say. He was moving around on Sunday, so whether it's full speed or all of those things -- what I can say is the trainer said he was running pretty well. No different than last week. He basically got what they call turf toe, but he's not swelled up."
* Berkley Edwards and Donnell Kirkwood suffered shoulder injuries against TCU but are ready to practice today.
* Isaiah Gentry needs season-ending knee surgery. The freshman wide receiver will get a redshirt. And redshirt freshman offensive tackle Alex Mayes needs shoulder surgery.
Gophers coach Jerry Kill said quarterback Mitch Leidner will practice today, with an eye toward playing Saturday against San Jose State.
Leidner sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Sept. 6 against Middle Tennessee State and added a toe injury in last Saturday’s loss at TCU. But his toe is not broken, Kill said.
Kill added that Leidner has turf toe, and has been cleared for practice by the team's training staff. Saturday's game is the final nonconference game before the Gophers open their Big Ten schedule at Michigan on Sept. 27.
Backup quarterback Chris Streveler has played in each of the team’s first three games and threw the lone touchdown pass against TCU.
Gophers coach Jerry Kill said Sunday that he's not sure if quarterback Mitch Leidner will be ready to play in next Saturday's game against San Jose State.
Leidner played with his left knee in a brace and was seen after the 30-7 loss at TCU wearing a protective boot on his left foot. Without giving any specifics on Leidner's injuries, Kill said he'd have to see how the sophomore progresses this week.
Update: Leidner suffered a toe injury Saturday, but there were no broken bones, according to people familiar with the situation. Leidner still hopes to play against San Jose State.
Kill also mentioned that starting guard Zac Epping played with a high ankle sprain in the 30-7 loss at TCU. David Cobb played with a low-ankle sprain, and right tackle Jonah Pirsig was limited with a right shoulder injury.
Kill seemed to think Cobb and Pirsig will be fine, but the coach was admittedly concerned about Leidner and Epping's ability to continue playing through their injuries.
Kill blamed himself for the team's poor performance at TCU. He thinks this is a resilient team that will bounce right back. I'll have more on the Gophers in tonight's first editions.
Mitch Leidner is not on the Gophers official injury report this week, as the team still has him listed as its starting quarterback for Saturday's game at TCU.
The team released its injury report and depth chart following Thursday's practice.
Defensive end Alex Keith remains out with a knee injury. The Gophers now list Ben Lauer as the starting right tackle, with Jonah Pirsig as his backup.
With Nick Rallis out for the season with a torn ACL, the Gophers moved true freshman Everett Williams into his spot on the depth chart, as the second-team middle linebacker.
The Gophers continued to insist Wednesday that Mitch Leidner will be back from his knee injury for Saturday's game at TCU.
"Mitch is going to play," Coach Jerry Kill said after watching Leidner practice for the second straight day. "He's a tough kid. ... He practiced, and he practiced hard [Wednesday]. He ran around good."
Kill added: "I’m pleasantly surprised after the shot he took [against Middle Tennessee State]."
The Gophers kept Leidner from meeting with the media this week, as they do with other players coming back from injury. It was interesting, though, that they kept reporters waiting in the hallway outside their locker room Wednesday, instead of conducting interviews on the practice field, as usual.
"We didn’t limit anything [in practice with Leidner]," Kill said. "We were smart and didn't get a bunch of bodies around him or anything of that nature. He went every rep we needed to except for the live stuff, when we went against the defense, but we hold him out of that sometimes anyway."
Backup quarterback Chris Streveler also sounded convinced.
"I’m pretty confident he’s going to be playing," Streveler said. "He’s been doing well in practice, but you never know, so I’m going to be ready to go no matter what happens."
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