The Minnesota Golden Gophers have started a season at 3-0 for the first time since 2008, but if they want to remain undefeated, it is going to be a real challenge. Quarterback MarQueis Gray was carted off the field in Minnesota’s 28-23 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos on Saturday.
An MRI revealed no broken bones or structural damage to his left leg, but the injury is believed to be a high-ankle sprain. A typical recovery time is two to fourweeks for that type of injury to heal. The issue with high-ankle sprains is obviously mobility, which is crucial for a quarterback who uses his legs as much as Gray. The senior has already scampered for 234 yards with two touchdowns in just three games so far this season. Coach Jerry Kill also indicated that Gray’s leg went numb as he suffered the injury.
Gray is a major focal point of the Gophers offense as he has racked up 632 total yards and accounted for seven of Minnesota’s 13 touchdowns in 2012. With so many teams already suffering early season defeats in the Big 10, and the Ohio State Buckeyes not being bowl eligible, the Gophers have a chance to make some real noise in the conference.
Minnesota may have to alter their offensive philosophy until Gray returns. Max Shortell, a 6-foot-6, 235 pound sophomore, looked good in relief though against the Broncos as he threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns. He just doesn’t have the speed and running ability that Gray does, so expect Minnesota to throw a lot more out of the pocket in the coming weeks.