Memphis guard depth just took a hit.
Antonio Barton will be out 4-6 weeks with a hairline fracture in his right foot, the fifth metatarsal, to be exact, though it won’t require surgery. This is according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
X-rays and an MRI revealed soft tissue damage to the foot. The injury and diagnosis means there’s a chance Barton could return for the postseason, instead of being out for the seas as originally feared.
Barton, who is averaging 6.2 points and 1.2 rebounds this season for the 20-3 Tigers’, injured the foot in the teams 89-76 victory on the road at Southern Miss on Saturday. A good win if the Tigers want to secure the top seed in the Conference USA tournament next month. Though it seems unlikely any other team is perched to beat them.
It’s also not an injury that coach Josh Pastner is spending a ton of time grieving about. As evidence in from C-A Memphis beat writer Jason Smith.
“Antonio’s helped us win a lot of games, but the other guys are just going to have to step up,” Pastner said.
Let’s get this straight: Memphis doesn’t need Barton to win the conference. I know, that’s from the “no, duh” department. After a somewhat rough patch in the non-conference season, the Tigers have shown they are clearly the class of C-USA. It’s not even close.
However, losing Barton does mean one thing: Memphis does lose a consistent contributor off the bench. Barton has the ability to breakout — he scored 16 points against Tulsa on Feb. 2 — and they will search for a new sixth man in terms of minutes off the bench. Barton 18.7 minutes this season.
Follow David on Twitter at @David_Harten.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.