Sophomores Bakary Konate and Nate Mason will miss time because of injuries leading up to the season, men's basketball coach Richard Pitino announced on the Gophers Sports Podcast on Tuesday night.
Mason, who started eight games at point guard a year ago, sustained a bone bruise in a knee during Monday's practice, an injury initially feared to be a torn ACL, Pitino said on the podcast.
"Our hearts dropped, big time, yesterday," Pitino said.
Instead, Mason is only expected to miss one week.
Konate, the Gophers' projected starting center, has a stress fracture in a foot and is expected to miss around three weeks, Pitino said.
The Gophers' season opener is Nov. 13 vs Missouri-Kansas City at Williams Arena.
Mason and Konate are arguably two of the Gophers' most critical pieces for a 2015-16 season that will be characterized by youth and inexperience.
Mason surprised a year ago as a freshman with his poise, court vision and scoring knack.
The 6-11 Konate is raw, having previously played only in Africa and Europe, but has the kind of size and potential that has excited Pitino. Without him, the Gophers don't have any clear options in the post.
"Nate Mason has got to become a premier guard in the league if we're going to get to where we want to get to," Pitino said. "… And Bakary … needs to take the next step."
United's Campos named player of week
Forward Pablo Campos of Minnesota United FC was named the North American Soccer League player of the week.
The Brazilian had a goal and an assist as the Loons defeated Fort Lauderdale 2-1 on Saturday to clinch a spot in the four-team playoffs.
"Pablo's movement and pace throughout the game were huge factors in both of our goals, and he put the defense on their heels all night," Loons coach Manny Lagos said.
United is on an 11-match unbeaten streak and trails league-leading Ottawa by only three points in the fall season with three games left.
•The Gophers men's golf team tied for ninth at the Alister Mackenzie Invitational in Fairfax, Calif., at 8-under par. Its top finisher was junior Justin Doeden, who tied for 26th after rounds of 65, 70 and 74 for a 4-under 209. Senior Jon DuToit (210) tied for 30th.
•The Gophers' Sarah Potomak was named the WCHA rookie of the week in women's hockey after getting two goals and four assists in Minnesota's 7-0, 11-0 sweep of visiting St. Cloud State last weekend.
•The Gophers' nonconference men's hockey game at Notre Dame on Saturday, Nov. 7, will be broadcast on NBC Sports, the organization announced.
That means all Minnesota's 35 regular-season games will be on one media platform or another.
• Bloomington-based TRIA Orthopaedic Center will be title sponsor for the North Star College Cup, a four-team tournament involving the state's five Division I teams and held at Xcel Energy Center, for the next two years.