Minnesota starting safety Kim Royston is out indefinitely after breaking two bones in his left leg during practice Tuesday.
Royston suffered the injury during 7-on-7 drills. He underwent surgery Tuesday night to clean the wound and will have another operation later this week.
In a text message sent Wednesday, coach Tim Brewster said there's a chance Royston could return during the 2010 season.
"It's a tough loss," Brewster said Tuesday, according to The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. "He just got tangled up and fell awkwardly and broke his lower leg pretty good."
Royston, a transfer from Wisconsin, started all 13 games for Minnesota last fall and was credited with 86 tackles, including a sack, and one interception. His best performance came against Iowa State in the Insight Bowl, when he made 15 tackles and forced a fumble.
Royston's father, Chris, told The (St. Paul) Pioneer Press that his son's status for the 2010 season is unknown.
"The hope, of course, is for him to be back this year, but we'll see," Chris Royston said, according to the report. "We won't know really until they get into the main surgery later this week. They're going to put a rod into his leg at that point in time. The good thing is that [the rod] doesn't have to come out; it's a titanium rod. But [him playing] is the least of our worries right now."
Minnesota already was practicing without its other starting safety, Kyle Theret, who was suspended indefinitely after being cited for driving while impaired last month.
Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.