Sports

Minnesota star RB Ibrahim out for rest of season

Minnesota star running back Mohamed Ibrahim will miss the rest of the season after suffering a lower-leg injury in Thursday’s loss to Ohio State.

Coach P.J. Fleck said Ibrahim, the Big Ten’s running back of the year and a third-team AP All-America selection in 2020, will undergo surgery Tuesday. He had 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries before being injured late in the third quarter of Minnesota’s 45-31 loss. Ibrahim limped off the field and went into Minnesota’s injury tent, eventually walking to the locker room with a boot on his left foot.

“He’s disappointed,” Fleck said. “He’s worked incredibly hard. But it’s football. You can’t control the injuries when you get onto the field, and you’re playing in games. He’s got a great sense about him right now and a great presence. He’s obviously not happy with what happened, but he’s been able to deal with it.”

Fleck didn’t specify the injury but said it’s “pretty clean” and that Ibrahim will be able to make a full recovery in four to six months. Ibrahim is a fifth-year senior who endured several injuries earlier in his career but still ranks eighth in team history with 3,003 rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns with 33. He has 547 career carries.

In 2020, he was the only Big Ten player to rush for 1,000 yards, and set Minnesota’s single-season record for rushing average (153.7 ypg). He ranked second nationally in scrimmage yards per game (161.7), trailing only Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson (178.7).

“Whether he comes back or goes to the NFL, that’s a choice he’ll make, not now, but later,” Fleck said. “He doesn’t need to make it now. He needs to worry about getting healthy and making a full recovery.” Fleck called Ibrahim “the best back in the country” and “the heartbeat of this team,” and said Ibrahim spent practice Sunday coaching the other running backs. Sophomore Trey Potts replaced Ibrahim against Ohio State and logged 10 carries for the game. Sophomore Cam Wiley and others also likely will be in the rotation for carries.

“We have a lot of numbers,” Fleck said. “You just haven’t seen a lot of them because Mohamed’s been so good.”

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