MarQueis Gray's injured toe might be well enough to play Saturday, Jerry Kill said Thursday. But after learning a lesson last week about using an injured player too soon, the Gophers coach has put off any decision about his starting quarterback's status.
"I'm hoping he'll be ready for Saturday, be able to give us minutes. But I don't know," Kill said on KFAN radio. "We'll take it all the way to game time to [decide] what we do."
Kill said he is leery of rushing anyone back, after watching cornerback Troy Stoudermire play despite a fractured left forearm last Saturday against North Dakota State. "We made a mistake by playing him," Kill said of his senior cornerback. "He was able to play, but can you play well with an injury? He's a physical guy and he didn't stick it in there."
That's why Stoudermire, whose left arm remains in a cast, has been declared out for Saturday's game at Michigan, and why Gray, who was limited to throwing the ball and rehabbing his injury Tuesday and Wednesday, isn't certain to play. Freshman Max Shortell, who split time with Gray during the second half of last Saturday's loss to the Bison, would get the start in Gray's absence. Junior Michael Carter is listed as Stoudermire's backup and presumably will get his first start of the season.
Marcus Jones, who suffered a concussion against North Dakota State last week, is not on the Gophers' injury list and should play.
Linebacker Brendan Beal's knee injury and offensive lineman Josh Campion's concussion, both suffered during fall camp, will keep that pair out for a fifth week, Kill announced. Also declared out for this week's game: reserve cornerback Johnny Johnson, because of an ankle injury, and backup center Zack Mottla because of a concussion.