Just prior to its game at Creighton on Sunday evening, the California basketball program announced that junior guard Ricky Kreklow will miss anywhere from four to six weeks after breaking his right hand. Kreklow, who started four of the Golden Bears’ 11 games prior to Sunday, is averaging 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
The injury is the second serious injury that Kreklow’s had to deal with since arriving in Berkeley. Kreklow, who began his career at Missouri, played in just nine games last season due to a broken foot. Originally expected to miss 6-8 weeks due to that injury, Kreklow suffered multiple setbacks in the recovery process.
But after undergoing surgery in October to have a screw put in the bone, Kreklow suffered setbacks on three occasions. The last time, on Jan. 3 at UCLA, he landed on someone else’s foot and re-cracked a bone in his foot.
“I didn’t know what was to come of that, I just knew it wasn’t good because it was already pretty fragile,” Kreklow said. “The screw prevented the bone from breaking all the way.”
Kreklow, who had started the last two games for the Golden Bears, was replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Jabari Bird, who entered Sunday’s game averaging 11.9 points per game with eight starts. Bird suffered a right ankle injury late in the first half against Creighton.
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.