Gophers guard Al Nolen to undergo foot surgery

by Josh Katzenstein

This isn’t how Al Nolen’s envisioned his senior season.

The guard and captain for the 16th-ranked Gophers will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a broken right foot, coach Tubby Smith said Monday during the Big Ten teleconference. He suffered the injury in the first half of Saturday’s win at Michigan.

Smith did not give a timetable for Nolen to return and said there’s no guarantee he will play again this season. Nolen sat five games earlier this season with a stress fracture in the same foot and said he’s been playing through pain since the injury.

Nolen bolstered the Gophers defense with 2.4 steals per game. He also averaged 8.4 points, 3.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game, second most on the team.

The news is just another hit to the depth of a team hoping to contend for a Big Ten title. Nolen’s backup Devoe Joseph transferred to Oregon, and freshman center Mo Walker will miss the remainder of the season because of a knee injury. Now the Gophers must turn to freshmen guards Chip Armelin and Maverick Ahanmisi for minutes at point guard. Senior Blake Hoffarber could also run the point as he did in the second half against Michigan.