Gophers coach Richard Pitino said Tuesday that former starters Liam Robbins and Gabe Kalscheur will not likely play in Wednesday's Big Ten tournament opener vs. Northwestern.
"Neither of them practiced yesterday," Pitino said in his video conference call. "I do not anticipate Liam and Gabe playing."
Robbins, who is averaging 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and a Big Ten-best 2.7 blocks, has been sidelined four games with a sprained left ankle. Kalscheur, who averages 9.2 points, has been out five games since suffering a broken finger on his right shooting hand Feb. 16.
Pitino had previously hoped Robbins at least could return for the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis after sitting out. He suffered the sprained ankle in the second half of the Feb. 11 win vs. Purdue at Williams Arena.
"Liam I would be surprised," said Pitino on his 7-footer center being back. "Gabe is definitely further away."
The Drake transfer finished with his second double-double this season with 11 points and 10 rebounds vs. Purdue. He tried to play hobbled in the next three games, but Robbins only averaged two points and three rebounds before shutting it down for the regular season.
The decision to play Robbins less than 100% earlier backfired when he wasn't able to return to finish the regular season. His first game sidelined was in a 67-59 loss Feb. 25 vs. Northwestern at home.
Robbins out means 6-8 senior forward Brandon Johnson will be the main inside presence. Johnson, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds in last weekend's 77-70 overtime loss vs. Rutgers, was held out of practice with a lingering ankle injury, but he will play Wednesday.
"He was better last game," Pitino said. "We need him at 100%, or as close as he can be because he's a really good [inside] option."