Minnesota Golden Gophers’ tight end Brandon Lingen is expected to be out for at least the next several weeks with a foot injury that he suffered in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Rutgers, according to the Star Tribune. After leaving the game, Lingen returned to the sideline with a walking boot and crutches.
He missed time earlier in the season with a broken clavicle as well.
As a sophomore last season, Lingen was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection after hauling in 33 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns. Due to injuries, he has only played in three games for the Golden Gophers in 2016 and has struggled to find his place in the offense. He has only three receptions for 28 yards thus far in his junior season. However, Minnesota has won all three games in which he has played.
Though there is no precise timetable for Lingen’s return, head coach Tracy Claeys left open the possibility that he would be able to return before the end of the season.
Entering this Saturday’s matchup against Illinois, the Golden Gophers will be without Lingen, defensive tackle Steven Richardson (concussion) and right tackle Jonah Pirsig (sprained ankle), according to the team’s injury report.
Minnesota is 5-2 on the season and currently tied with Wisconsin for fourth-place in the Big Ten West division with an even 2-2 conference record. After opening conference play with losses to Penn State and Iowa, the Golden Gophers have won their last two matchups against Maryland and Rutgers. Their next two contests are against conference bottom dwellers Illinois and Purdue, which should be winnable even without their starting tight end.