BREAKING: Gophers star wide receiver Autman-Bell out for season

Chris Autman-Bell will miss the rest of the season due to a lower leg injury from Saturday’s game.

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Ethan Fine

Minnesota wide receiver Autman-Bell prepares for a drive during the Gophers’ game against Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 17. Autman-Bell will miss the rest of the 2022 season with a leg injury.

by Theo Franz

Minnesota’s head football coach PJ Fleck announced Monday that Chris Autman-Bell suffered a lower leg injury on Saturday that will require surgery, ending his 2022 season.

“delayed, not denied. been through hell & back already, i’m ready for everything that comes with this. – 7,” Autman-Bell said on Twitter Monday.

The injury occurred during the first half of Saturday’s game against Colorado. Autman-Bell was running his route with no one near him when he awkwardly planted his right leg into the ground. Trainers attended to his knee and helped him off the field and into the medical tent for the rest of the game.

“He’s a big member of this football team,” Fleck said after the game. “I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t one of the most integral parts of what we do and how we do it.”

For the past two seasons, Autman-Bell has been quarterback Tanner Morgan’s favorite target. Last year, he finished with the team high in receiving yards and receptions. He was on track to repeat as the Gophers lead receiver this season with an average of 71.3 yards and 3.7 receptions per game.

In December 2021, Autman-Bell announced he would forgo the 2022 NFL Draft and use his last year of NCAA eligibility to return to the Gophers. The team is reportedly willing to seek a seventh year of eligibility if that is what Autman-Bell and his family want.

If he decides to leave college football behind, the star receiver would finish his collegiate career within the University’s top 15 receivers with 1,970 receiving yards, 125 receptions and 13 touchdowns.

The season-ending injury leaves wide receivers Dylan Wright, Michael Brown-Stephens and Daniel Jackson to incorporate Autman-Bell’s voluminous production into their workload.