Injury problems continue for Minnesota

Minnesota is one banged-up football team. It has been four weeks, but the Gophers suffered an especially large number of casualties and near-casualties Saturday against Indiana. And a couple of those near-casualties had the Metrodome holding its breath. On its first drive of the game, Minnesota faced a third-and-goal from the 4-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Adam Weber dropped back, then was sacked for a 7-yard loss by Hoosiers defensive end Jammie Kirlew. He didnâÄôt get back up. Weber couldnâÄôt put any weight on his right leg as he was helped off the field, but minutes later, he was running on the sideline and returned to the game after the Gophers defense forced a three-and-out. âÄúIt was one of those scary things where, right off the bat, I couldnâÄôt put weight on my knee,âÄù Weber said. But it was determined to be just a bone bruise âÄî no damage to ligaments or tendons. âÄúWhen you get back in the game and get the adrenaline going, you just put it behind you,âÄù Weber said. Others werenâÄôt able to put their injuries behind them. Junior cornerback Marcus Sherels landed awkwardly after he was pulled down while defending a pass in the second quarter. He appeared to have dislocated a shoulder, although head coach Tim Brewster did not confirm the nature of the injury. âÄúHopefully we wonâÄôt lose him for long,âÄù Brewster said. Sherels came back from the locker room late in the game with his arm in a sling. Both the offensive and defensive lines had players go down, as well. On offense, it was sophomore left tackle Dom Alford; on the other side of the ball, defensive end Derrick Onwuachi . Onwuachi returned. Alford did not. The injury that prompted a collective gasp from the entire stadium, however, came early in the fourth quarter, when junior wide receiver Eric Decker nearly had his head taken off by a pair of Hoosiers defensive backs after making a 15-yard reception. He lay motionless on the ground for a moment, then wobbled off the field. MinnesotaâÄôs star wide out already had 13 catches for 190 yards at that point, both career highs. âÄúHeâÄôs a vital part of what we do offensively, and I wanted to run out on the field myself and make sure he was ok,âÄù Brewster said. Incredibly, he was, and missed only one offensive series. Stoudermire shows versatility True freshman Troy Stoudermire found his place early at Minnesota. Ever since a pair of impressive kick returns in the GophersâÄô season opener against Northern Illinois, heâÄôs been No. 1 in that role. ItâÄôs interesting that a man listed as a cornerback on MinnesotaâÄôs roster, despite playing running back, receiver and quarterback in high school , found a stable job so quickly. As of Saturday, however, it looks like heâÄôs on the move again. Stoudermire spent a number of plays against Indiana as wide receiver, snagging two balls for 13 yards. Oddly, he has yet to play a down at corner this year. Brewster said he still sees Stoudermire taking some reps at defensive back, but plans to use him wherever needed. âÄúHeâÄôs a very dynamic young guy who can really do good things with the ball,âÄù Brewster said. âÄúSo we want to incorporate him into what weâÄôre doing. WeâÄôre going to use him on both sides.âÄù