Gophers move on minus PG Nolen

Published 4:38 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota must move on without Al Nolen, trying to find a way to replace the senior point guard’s leadership, defense and ball-handling ability.

Nolen will have surgery Wednesday to place a pin in his broken right foot, and his return before the end of the season is uncertain. The 16th-ranked Gophers are expressing faith in freshmen guards Maverick Ahanmisi and Chip Armelin for expanded roles with Nolen’s absence. Senior shooting guard Blake Hoffarber will also fill Nolen’s spot.

Coach Tubby Smith says Hoffarber will probably start at point guard Wednesday against Northwestern.

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Hoffarber says he’s confident and comfortable at the position, having played there Saturday at Michigan as well as occasionally earlier in his career in college and high school.