Sigh. Sunday afternoon the Minnesota Golden Gophers announced that safety Antoine Winfield Jr. will miss the rest of the 2018 season with a foot injury he suffered in the first quarter of the game at Maryland on Saturday.
#Gophers announce that dynamic playmaker Antoine Winfield Jr., will miss the rest of the season after sustaining a foot injury on Saturday. U will file for a sixth year of eligibility at end of season. https://t.co/R21Z2Sb4pa— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 23, 2018
Pause for you to let your emotions out.
No, this unfortunately is not an accidental copy of an article from a year ago where Winfield Jr suffered a hamstring injury that would prove to be season ending against....Maryland.
Winfield injured his foot in the first quarter of Saturday’s game on a non-contact play. It did not look good from the first instance.
Antoine Winfield, Jr. is down on the field.— The Daily Gopher (@TheDailyGopher) September 22, 2018
The most-concerning part of the Antoine Winfield Jr. injury is it was a non-contact foot injury.— Ryan Burns (@RyanBurnsMN) September 23, 2018
Winfield, lined up across from the tight on the top of the formation, just starts to hop and limp at the end of this play. pic.twitter.com/BbX7ntHQdt
And the injury didn’t sound any better when postgame Gopher head coach PJ Fleck had this to say about Winfield’s injury:
FLECK on Antoine Winfield Jr: If didn't come back in then it's something serious....Hopefully he gets back, but that's why this BYE week comes at a really good time for all of us.— KFAN1003 (@KFAN1003) September 22, 2018
Well, it was serious. Winfield will have season ending foot surgery on Monday.
Fleck said this about the injury in the U of M press release:
We are heartbroken for Antoine, Like Rodney Smith, I know he will keep his oar in the water, keep moving forward and will work tirelessly to return to the field next season. We believe Antoine meets the waiver requirement for a sixth year of eligibility and we will file that waiver with the NCAA at the conclusion of the season.”
Winfield currently has two years of eligibility left after receiving a medical redshirt for his injury a year ago. While he has only played in four games, he technically has used his redshirt due to the injury and would need to receive a waiver to get this year back.
So where does this leave Minnesota? With the bye this week the Gophers have officially lost their best offensive and defensive player for the season. That’s...not good. Minnesota will need even more from an already long list of freshmen playing significant minutes. As we saw yesterday, true freshman Jordan Howden is a significant step down from Winfield. It will be up to Robb Smith and Jahmile Addae to try and get him ready to play the majority of the plays the rest of the season in the next two weeks. Gulp.
We will have much more on this in the next week or so and will cover it significantly on this week’s podcast. But, we leave you with one last thought for now.
Petition to remove Maryland from all future Gopher football schedules. The health of Antoine Winfield, Jr. depends on it.— The Daily Gopher (@TheDailyGopher) September 22, 2018
October 26, 2019 at TCF Bank Stadium....how bout you just sit this one out just to be safe Antoine.