Minnesota's Autman-Bell to have season-ending surgery
The Gophers will look to secure a seventh year of eligibility for the sixth-year wideout.
Autman-Bell suffered what appeared to be a non-contact ailment during the first half of Minnesota's 49-7 win over Colorado on Saturday. He was helped off the field before heading to the team's locker room. Fleck said postgame he was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.
The Kankakee, Illinois, native leads the club with 11 receptions for 214 yards and a touchdown through three games this season. Autman-Bell paced the Gophers with 36 catches for 506 yards and six scores in 2021 to go along with 14 yards per reception.
While Fleck acknowledged the star receiver's importance to the offense, he said Minnesota will push forward without him.
"He's one of the most (integral) parts to what we do and how we do it, on and off the field," Fleck said Saturday, according to Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "One of the best people. But no matter what, we are trained to Row The Boat."
With Autman-Bell sidelined for the remainder of the year, the Gophers will turn to a receiving corps that features wideouts Michael Brown-Stephens and Dylan Wright, as well as tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford.