Minnesota suspends Devoe Joseph

Since we don't know what "indefinite" means -- OK, so we know what it means, Daniel Webster, just not what it entails -- and we don't know what Devoe Joseph did, it's hard to get much of a read on how big of a deal this is. One thing's for sure: It's not great news for the Gophers. From the Pierce County Herald:

University of Minnesota men's basketball coach Tubby Smith announced last night that he has suspended guard Devoe Joseph indefinitely. [...] Smith would not go into specifics, other than to say Joseph has had a couple of off-court issues. Smith says he expects Joseph to be back with the team at some point this season, but he must take care of a few things first. Smith would not detail a specific length of the suspension, but did say Joseph would not be traveling with the team to a tournament in Puerto Rico next week.

Pretty vague, right? The issue isn't related to basketball or academics, apparently, so it's hard to say exactly what team rule Joseph violated. It's also hard to know when he's going to come back. It could be right after Minnesota finishes its trip to Puerto Rico next week; it could be a month; it could be several months. That "indefinite" thing is never particularly encouraging.

That said, Gophers fans do have some reason to suspect Tubby isn't suspend-the-kid-for-a-month upset:

"Devoe knows he's let the team down," Smith said, according to the Associated Press. "He feels like he's let himself down, he's let me down. But it doesn't take long to recover. Once you realize that when you look at the mirror, you say, 'You know what, I better go hug him because I'm looking for a hug myself.' I've made mistakes after mistakes [too]."

I'm not exactly sure what that quote means, but it doesn't seem like Tubby's especially furious. That means Joseph will probably be back sooner rather than later, and that's big for the Gophers, because while senior point guard Al Nolen returns to full-time play this season after missing Minnesota's last 17 games thanks to academic issues last season, Joseph established himself as a more-than-capable (and slightly bigger) point guard option as a sophomore last season. This season, Joseph might have slid into a more traditional off-guard role -- Smith has said that Joseph played point more out of necessity than desire last season -- but his ability to distribute from the perimeter was a big find for the Gophers.

Wherever he's playing -- whether he's coming off the bench behind Nolen and Blake Hoffarber or starting at either spot -- Minnesota is a better team with him. Hopefully for the Gophers, "indefinite" isn't all that long after all.