The ending to Minnesota’s loss was as wacky as any finish we have seen this season.
After Traevon Jackson had a shot bounce off the rim, off of the back board and through with 1.7 seconds left, Trevor Mbakwe was fouled as he battled with Mike Breusewitz for the ensuing inbounds pass.
Rodney Williams eventually hit one-of-two from the free throw line, meaning that the Gophers lost to the Badgers. That was their fourth straight loss, a fact that got played up in the media and on TV.
But what wasn’t mentioned all that much was the fact that Mbakwe didn’t shoot his free throws after getting fouled. He somehow managed to hurt his wrist on the play, but the concern, according to Minnesota beat writer Amelia Rayno, is that it may not have been the first time he hurt the wrist:
This is the second time in two games that Mbakwe has had issues with the hand. In the second half against Northwestern, Mbakwe took a hard fall, landed strangely on the wrist and laid on the court for nearly a minute before walking off.
After that game, Mbakwe told the media it was something he’d been rehabbing, even though we hadn’t heard about any problems with it previously.
This morning on the media teleconference, coach Tubby Smith said that Mbakwe was fine and practiced yesterday, but that he’s just been dealing with some soreness.
“I guess he got whacked on it pretty good there, [against Wisconsin] but he did shoot that shot,” Smith said. “That’s a reactionary thing. It’s just get it up there quickly, but I guess after he had a chance to think about it it really bothered him so he couldn’t shoot those free throws.”
Mbakwe said he won’t be missing any game time, and there are those out there that think he faked the injury in an effort to get a better free throw shooter to the foul line. I doubt that, which means that in addition to the Gopher’s four game losing streak, Minnesota fans might want to keep an eye on Mbakwe’s wrist.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.