The Gophers' worst fears were confirmed Sunday, when the team learned that starting point guard Al Nolen broke his right foot in Saturday's win at Michigan.
During Monday's Big Ten media teleconference, Tubby Smith said Nolen will have surgery Wednesday. The timetable for his return has not been determined. Smith said there's no guarantee he will return this season.
"That's a real blow to us," Smith said.
Nolen, the Big Ten steals leader, was playing defense Saturday when he landed awkwardly in the first half. He didn't play the rest of the game. He left Crisler Arena with crutches and a boot on his right foot.
Nolen missed five games earlier this season with a stress fracture in his right foot. He opted against surgery then.
In the four games prior to Saturday's outing, he'd averaged 12.7 points per game during one of the best runs of his career. But he told reporters that his foot wasn't 100 percent in the weeks leading up to the Michigan game.
Smith said the Gophers will expect more from freshman guards Chip Armelin and Maverick Ahanmisi. Blake Hoffarber will also play more point guard.
It's another personnel blow for this team. Mo Walker is out for the season with a knee injury. Devoe Joseph transferred. And now Nolen is out for an undetermined amount of time.