Minnesota recruit Maresh has calf tumor

Less than a year after undergoing heart surgery, Minnesota linebacker recruit Sam Maresh has a tumor in his calf.

Maresh, who was on track to return to the field for spring practice, had been complaining of pain in his left calf. Doctors discovered the tumor after several tests, according to a message posted Tuesday by his father, Bill, on the family's CaringBridge.com Web site.

"His bone looks good, it is a very low chance of being cancer," Bill Maresh's message reads. "It does not appear to be made up of blood vessels, the tumor is soft tissue in the center of his left calf and is causing the pain and will have to be removed. Before they will do anything, they have to do more test to find out what it is. They are concerned about the location against three major blood vessels."

Maresh underwent surgery June 26 to repair his aortic valve after doctors discovered a heart murmur during a routine sports physical. He sat out last season but was scheduled to participate in spring ball.

"Sam Maresh is facing another challenge to overcome," Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster said in a statement Tuesday afternooon. "It is much too early to speculate about a diagnosis on his calf. As we get a better grasp of the situation, we'll be about to talk about it more."

Maresh was one of Minnesota's top recruits in a heralded 2008 class.

"Sam left the doctor's office discouraged and even made a comment, 'Maybe God doesn't want me to play football,'" Bill Maresh's message reads. "We have talked and he knows that is not true, but as you can imagine, he is discouraged."

Adam Rittenberg covers the Big Ten for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com.