Minnesota RB Shannon Brooks nears return from broken foot

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota running back Shannon Brooks has been cleared to return after missing the first two games with a broken foot.

Whether Brooks will play Saturday against Colorado State depends on how he fares in practice. Coach Tracy Claeys said Tuesday that if Brooks is sore, the Gophers ''won't take a chance on him this week.''

Brooks led the team in rushing as a freshman last season with 709 yards, an average of 6.0 yards per attempt and seven touchdowns. The Gophers are plenty deep at the position, with sophomore Rodney Smith and junior-college transfer Kobe McCrary sharing the load over the first two games.

Claeys also said cornerbacks KiAnte Hardin and Ray Buford, safety Dior Johnson and defensive end Tamarion Johnson remain suspended for an unspecified violation of team policy.

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