Mohamed Ibrahim, the Big Ten’s reigning running back of the year, is out for the season.
Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck confirmed on Monday that the star running back will undergo season-ending surgery after suffering a lower-leg injury late in the third quarter of Minnesota’s 45-31 loss to No. 4 Ohio State. Although he didn’t specify details of the injury, Fleck expects the fifth-year senior to make a full recovery in four to six months.
“He’s disappointed,” Fleck said, (via ESPN). “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.”
Ibrahim had 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries before going down with a lower-leg injury in the third quarter. He tried to walk it off, but later had to be helped off the field into Minnesota’s injury tent. He entered the locker room with a walking boot on his left foot, and didn’t make a return.
His first touchdown of the season, a 1-yarder, gave the Gophers a 14-10 lead over the Buckeyes just before halftime; on the previous drive, his 56-yard run on fourth down spurred another Golden Gophers touchdown.
Losing Ibrahim will be a huge blow to the Minnesota offense, as he ranks eighth in team history with 3,003 rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns with 33 through four seasons. His final touchdown before the injury helped give Minnesota some confidence before Ohio State could take the lead for good.
Ibrahim has also been considered to enter the 2022 NFL Draft, but his recovery timeline may affect his potential stock. Depending on the severity of his unspecified injury, Ibrahim could have a more difficult battle returning to the field at his current playing level.
Minnesota will now rely on redshirt sophomore Treyson Potts, who stepped in for Ibrahim and carried 10 times for 34 yards following his exit. Although Potts lacks experience, tallying 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns through two seasons with Minnesota, he will rotate with redshirt junior Bryce Williams and redshirt sophomore Cam Wiley to develop his skills.