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Gee-Tucker could return for NDSU's first playoff game

FARGO--In a season where injuries have mostly resulted in dark results, North Dakota State University may have finally found a glimmer of light on Monday, Nov. 21. The knee injury to standout linebacker Pierre Gee-Tucker may not sideline him for ...

North Dakota State Bison linebacker Pierre Gee-Tucker, shown celebrating the victory at Iowa earlier this season, could be ready to play for the playoffs after injuring his knee last weekend at South Dakota. Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; North Dakota State Bison linebacker Pierre Gee-Tucker (47) celebrates with running back King Frazier (22) after the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. North Dakota State won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

FARGO-In a season where injuries have mostly resulted in dark results, North Dakota State University may have finally found a glimmer of light on Monday, Nov. 21. The knee injury to standout linebacker Pierre Gee-Tucker may not sideline him for the season.

NDSU head coach Chris Klieman said Gee-Tucker suffered a sprained knee ligament, in this case to his MCL. He said there was minimal "structural damage" and said his availability is on a week-to-week status.

"So that's good," Klieman said.

It at least opens the door to Gee-Tucker returning for the Dec. 3 Division I FCS second-round playoff game against the winner of the University of San Diego and Cal Poly. Those two play an opening-round game this Saturday. Gee-Tucker, the team's top tackler along with safety Robbie Grimsley with 70 tackles each, won't practice this week.

"Next week at this time we'll re-evaluate him," Klieman said.

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Starting cornerback Jaylaan Wimbush also won't practice this week after suffering a shoulder injury in the 28-21 win over the University of South Dakota last Saturday. Like Gee-Tucker, Wimbush is also week-to-week, Klieman said.

The Bison finished 10-1 and the first-round bye is probably more welcome heading into this postseason than any of the previous five seasons when the Bison received a seed and didn't have to play a first-round game.

Asked if this team was more beat up at this point of the year than any of the previous five title teams, Klieman said: "Without question. We'll see what we have at the end of this week, and maybe see if we can get some guys back."

The Bison already lost arguably two of their best defensive players for the season when linebacker Nick DeLuca was sidelined after the third game and defensive tackle Nate Tanguay tore his ACL in the Youngstown State game. Tanguay's injury was more of the non-contact variety but the other ailments can partly be attributed to NDSU's tough schedule, Klieman said.

The Bison started fall training camp on July 31, a week earlier than everybody else, and played Charleston Southern on Aug. 27, also a week earlier than the rest of the FCS. NDSU's three non-conference opponents were two playoff teams-Charleston Southern and Eastern Washington-and the University of Iowa, ranked 11th at the time of the Bison game.

"It is what it is, it's hard to schedule games around here," Klieman said. "Shoot, our guys will remember this for a long time."

Related Topics: FOOTBALLCHRIS KLIEMAN
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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