The most undertold storyline of this season is the injury bug: there are so many team across the country that are sitting back and waiting to see if they will get key players back — and fully healthy — by the time the tournament rolls around.
Duke. Florida. Oregon. Notre Dame. Lehigh.
It’s an epidemic.
But there is no team in the country that has more on the lineup when it comes to the successful healing of a couple of important pieces that Montana. The Grizzlies entered the season as one of the most popular mid-majors, and while dealing with the loss of star point guard Will Cherry to a broken foot for the first two months of the season, still managed to find a way to take a 15-1 record in the Big Sky into the final weeks of February.
But here’s the problem: not only did Cherry reinjure the foot this weekend in the BracketBusters game at Davidson, leading scorer Mathias Ward has a foot injury that could keep him out until the conference tournament. Here’s the latest:
“I just came down on someone’s foot wrong, twisted it and felt something pop,” Ward said Tuesday.
Doctors have told Ward he could possibly recover in time to play in the Big Sky tournament, which begins March 14 in either Missoula or Ogden.
“I’m hoping to come back sooner than that,” Ward said.
X-rays on Sunday, though, did not show a break and a more detailed look with a CT scan on Monday confirmed the X-rays.
“They actually said it looked exactly the same as my last checkup. (Jan. 28),” Cherry said.
Cherry said there is no timetable yet for his return.
It goes without saying, as good as Kareem Jamar is, if Montana is without two of their three best players, they are a completely different basketball team. When healthy, however, they have a chance to pull off an upset and win a game or two if they can get to the NCAA tournament.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.