MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The University of Minnesota football team starts spring practice on Tuesday, but the Gophers will be without one of their top running backs for the 2018 season.

Coach PJ Fleck said Shannon Brooks is out for the season after suffering a non-contact lower leg injury that will require surgery. Fleck said they plan to file for a medical redshirt for Brooks, and he would have one year of eligibility remaining for the 2019 season.

Brooks battled injuries much of last season and played in six games, rushing for about 61.5 yards per game with five touchdowns. Two seasons ago, Brooks rushed for 65 yards per game with five touchdowns.

The news means Rodney Smith will likely be the featured running back this season. The senior played in all 12 games and rushed for 1,020 yards with three touchdowns. He also became a threat receiving out of the backfield with 17 catches.

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