Gray’s status unknown as team prepares Shortell to start

Coach Jerry Kill still hasn’t ruled out Gray playing on Saturday.

Dane Mizutani

Gophers head coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday that senior quarterback MarQueis Gray is “doing better” as he recovers from a high-ankle sprain suffered in the first half of the Gophers’ 28-23 win over Western Michigan on Saturday.

Kill confirmed his quarterback’s injury at his weekly press conference, but he said there is no structural damage to Gray’s ankle or knee.

“It got bent over pretty good, so he’s going to be sore for a couple days,” Kill said. “I talked to him [Monday], and I said, ‘Your goal is to try to be a backup on Saturday and be prepared to play.’ We’ll see how it works out.”

Kill said the team will prepare this week with Max Shortell as the starting quarterback and true freshman Philip Nelson as the immediate backup.

Shortell impressed when he filled in for an injured Gray on Saturday. The sophomore threw for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns, including two crucial scores before the first half ended. Still, Kill would not rule out the possibility of Gray playing Saturday.

“If MarQueis is available, that’s a great thing,” Kill said. “That’s the approach we’ll take.”