Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood has made steady progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle injury but probably won't play Saturday against Western Illinois, coach Jerry Kill said Wednesday.

Kirkwood, who led the Gophers with 926 rushing yards last season, sprained his right ankle in this year's season opener against UNLV.

Kirkwood was in a green noncontact jersey Thursday and took some reps during practice.

"He's got a great attitude," Kill said. "Given his injury and how quick he's coming back, it's encouraging. No matter who we're playing, he's got to be 100 percent because it's a long season."

Kirkwood is closer to returning than freshman running back Berkley Edwards, Kill said. Edwards sprained his left ankle and tweaked his knee in practice Aug. 21.

Last week, with Kirkwood and Edwards out, sophomore running back Rodrick Williams rushed for a career-high 148 yards, and junior David Cobb added 56 yards.