Gophers coach Tracy Claeys told KFAN (100.3-FM) on Thursday that defensive tackle Steven Richardson could return from his calf injury to play Saturday against Illinois.

This is an important development for the Gophers. Richardson has missed the past two games and still ranks second on the team with eight tackles for a loss. Claeys said Richardson would be a game-time decision, as he'll be trying to come back from a strained muscle in cold conditions.

If Richardson plays against Illinois, it might be sparingly, but there is hope he'll be even healthier for next week's game against Wisconsin. In today's paper, I wrote about how much the Gophers missed Richardson and Scott Ekpe at defensive tackle against Iowa.

Claeys also told KFAN that wide receiver Eric Carter (concussion) should be ready to play against Illinois, as he's had a longer week of practice than he did before the Iowa game.