Injuries to Watch
Published on Friday, 1/17/14, at 8:55 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
After missing back-to-back games due to swelling and soreness in his knee, Florida forward Casey Prather has been cleared to play Saturday at Auburn. However, UF head coach Billy Donovan told the media Friday morning that it’s unlikely that Prather will play many minutes. The senior slasher is enjoying a breakout campaign, averaging a team-high 17.0 points per game. The status of freshman big man Chris Walker remains unresolved. Walker, a McDonald’s All-American from Holmes Co. High School, has been practicing with the team for a month but is still awaiting word on his eligibility from the NCAA Clearinghouse. ESPN’s Chad Ford currently has Walker as the No. 22 pick in his mock for this summer’s NBA Draft.
Colorado took a huge hit in Sunday’s 71-54 loss at Washington when Spencer Dinwiddie was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Dinwiddie was averaging 14.7 points, 3.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Without Dinwiddie last night, CU lost a 69-56 decision to UCLA as a one-point home favorite.
Boston College was hoping to get center Dennis Clifford back soon, but that’s not happening. The school announced that Clifford is out for the rest of the season. As a freshman last year, he averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Clifford was only able to play in two games this year, so the Eagles will redshirt the big man.
The return of two key Houston players didn’t go as planned in Thursday’s 91-52 loss at Louisville as a 17-point underdog. Danuel House, who hadn’t played since Nov. 26 due to a knee injury, missed all seven of his shots from the field and scored just two points against the Cardinals. House averages 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. L.J. Rose was also held scoreless in 16 minutes of playing time. Rose, who averages 9.3 PPG, had not played since Dec. 9.
Louisville starting point guard Chris Jones sat out the win over Houston with an oblique injury. Jones, who averages 11.3 PPG, is not expected to play Saturday at UConn. Jones does an excellent job of taking care of the basketball, evidenced by the fact that he has more steals (31) than turnovers (26) through 16 games.
Michigan St. senior center Adreian Payne is ‘doubtful’ Saturday at Illinois due to a foot injury. Payne averages 16.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He has missed the last two games, but the Spartans have still won nine in a row and covered the number in their last eight outings.
A fractured foot will keep South Carolina’s Tyrone Johnson out indefinitely. The Villanova transfer is one of the Gamecocks’ three players scoring in double figures. Johnson is averaging 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Georgetown center Josh Smith is ‘doubtful’ Saturday vs. Seton Hall. The UCLA transfer has missed back-to-back games due to an academic issues. Smith averages 11.5 PPG and is shooting at a 65.5 percent clip from the field .
Missouri St. will be without leading scorer Marcus Marshall for an indefinite period of time due to a knee injury. Marshall is averaging 14.3 points per game. Without him, the Bears got trounced 70-55 Wednesday at Indiana St. as a 10-point underdog.
Indian St. star guard Jake Odum suffered a concussion in the win over Missouri St., but he has been cleared to play in Saturday’s crucial Missouri Valley showdown at Wichita St. Odum is one of the nation’s most underrated players. He averages 12.5 points, 5.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Tulsa forward Rashad Smith has missed three consecutive games with an undisclosed injury and is ‘questionable’ Saturday at Marshall. Smith averages 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Manhattan has been without leading scorer George Beamon in back-to-back games due to a shoulder injury sustained on Jan. 9. Beamon averages 20.1 PPG for the 13-3 Jaspers. He remains a question mark for Saturday’s game at Fairfield.
Navy will be without its starting point guard Tillman Dunbar for the rest of the season. Dunbar has been suspended for a violation of academy rules. Dunbar was averaging 11.9 points and 5.0 assists per game for the Midshipmen.
Without second-leading scorer Jermaine Marshall (15.6 PPG), Arizona St. got smashed 91-68 Thursday at Arizona. Marshall, the Penn St. transfer who is draining 46 percent of his attempts from 3-point range, couldn’t go against the Wildcats due to a groin injury. Gamblers should check his status (currently ‘questionable’) ahead of Thursday’s home game vs. Utah.
Before wagering on Saturday’s game between of Drexel at UNC-Wilmington, bettors should check the status of three Drexel players who are all in the regular rotation. Dartaye Ruffin, Tavon Allen (13.3 PPG) and Kazembe Abif are all question marks.
Gonzaga guard Gary Bell Jr. (12.7 PPG) is expected to miss about two more weeks due a broken hand suffered on a Dec. 28. Since his injury, the Bulldogs have won four of their five games both straight up and against the spread.