Louisville shot-blocker Gorgui Dieng will reportedly undergo an x-ray on his injured left wrist to gauge the progress of his recovery Wednesday, TheCardinalConnect.com is reporting.
Dieng has been out of action since Nov. 23 when he fell awkwardly on defense against Missouri in the Battle 4 Atlantis, breaking the scaphoid bone in his left wrist. It was initially ruled that he would need four to six weeks to recover. Reports earlier in the month indicated that Louisville’s Jan. 2 game against Providence could be the most likely date for Dieng’s return, but the Cardinals face Kentucky Saturday and would like to have the 6-11 defensive stopper in the lineup.
In Dieng’s absence, Louisville is 6-1, having lost only to the nation’s No. 1 team, Duke. Other than a scare from Illinois State, the Cardinals have had little difficulty on their current six-game winning streak.
Prior to his injury, Dieng was averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. If he is able to play Saturday against John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats, it will shift much of the burden off of Stephan Van Treese and Zach Price, who would be tabbed with neutralizing freshman frontcourt duo Nerlens Noel and Willy Cauley-Stein.
According to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, Dieng will practice Wednesday, as well.
Tip-off against Kentucky is at 4:00 p.m. ET Saturday.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.
“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”
The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.
What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.
The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.
Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.
Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.
Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.