Bad news coming out of Montana today as it seems that the Grizzlies leading scorer may miss some time.
Matthias Ward, who averages 14.8 points this season, apparently injured his foot in a win against Idaho State.
On a Tuesday radio show, head coach Wayne Tinkle said that Ward will be undergoing tests to determine the severity of the injury and the length of time that he’ll be out.
This is a big deal for Montana, who currently sits at 15-1 in the Big Sky and has become one of the most dangerous mid-major programs in the country.
Big Sky Basketball explains:
Ward is Montana’s leading scorer at 14.8 PPG, and he is perhaps the best mid-range jump shooter in the Big Sky. But that is only part of the point. The larger point is that Montana is already painfully thin in the frontcourt. Ward itself isn’t really a true big man (he is not a very good rebounder), but there other best options upfront are Mike Weisner and Spencer Coleman, who are probably better suited to play the three.
If Ward is out awhile, such as for next week’s road games or even longer, Montana could be in trouble. Without Ward, they will likely play even smaller, with guys likeSpencer Coleman or Mike Weisner playing some at the five, along with four guards. They won’t really have a choice.
Bottom line, this could be a game changer at the end of the Big Sky season.
That’s not good.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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.