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Rodney Smith injury update; expect full news on Tuesday

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Everything about this looks bad.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

For anyone who missed it, the Gophers lost star running back Rodney Smith to injury during the first series of this past Saturday’s game against Fresno State. Since that moment, Gopher fans have been anxiously awaiting final word on his status.

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UPDATE 2:15 PM CT MONDAY

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Here’s what we know for sure as of lunchtime Monday:

  • The injury appeared to be non-contact. Rather it appeared to happen when Rodney was making a football move.
  • It’s been termed as a “lower extremity” injury with no specifics given regarding whether it’s the knee or the ankle which has been injured.
  • Rodney has had an MRI.
  • Coach Fleck will address Rodney’s status on Tuesday during his weekly press conference.

What does this all mean? Get ready for bad news. Word is that the MRI happened yesterday morning. There is no way the team still hasn’t received the results of the MRI and no way the orthopedists working with Rodney haven’t already determined their preliminary diagnosis and treatment plan. When I see a staff wait 2 days to announce the results of a non-contact injury to a joint with ligaments, I think it’s safe to assume the outcome is serious.

I hope I’m wrong. Not for the team this season, but for Rodney. He’s been a great back at Minnesota and he had a chance to be on an NFL roster and make a name for himself next fall. A serious ligament injury would greatly diminish the possibility that an NFL team will end up signing him. So for Rodney, I’m hoping this is a sprain or something else that he can rehab his way past in time for the NFL combine next spring.

In the meantime, we’ll post the final word tomorrow as soon as we have it.