The Cal Poly basketball program received some bad news earlier this week as junior guard Maliik Love went down in a workout with a broken bone in his left foot.
According to Joshua D. Scroggin of the San Luis Obispo Tribune, head coach Joe Callero says that there’s a sixty percent chance that Love (he isn’t expected back until at least Christmas) has to redshirt this season.
“The biggest thing when people come back from this type of injury may be playing too early,” Love said to the paper, “not giving it enough time. All I have to do is stay focused on my foot and not coming back too early.”
Love’s broken foot isn’t the only injury that Cal Poly has to address, as four other players are dealing with injuries suffered in the preseason.
Love might be the most severely hurt Mustangs player, but he’s not the only one and not the only point guard.
Junior point guard Jamal Johnson landed on his head driving to the lane this past week and was taken to the hospital. He suffered a concussion and could miss the next couple weeks.
Senior Drake U’u was also sporting a walking boot on his left foot. He’s expected to be out another week with a sprained ankle. [Reese] Morgan suffered a setback returning from knee surgery last year and will be held out a little while longer, and incoming freshman Zach Allmon, a former Mission Prep standout, has been hobbled by an ankle sprain, too.
If sidelined for the season, Love’s injury would make it three straight seasons in which Cal Poly lost a player for the year before their first game.
In 2010 it was Amaurys Fermin who went down with a torn ACL, and the following season saw Chris O’Brien go down with the same injury.
The “trend” was troubling enough for Callero that he sought out advise from coaches and trainers at both the college and professional levels to see if there were changes he could make to keep his players healthy.
“I talked to probably eight, nine people just kind of looking at injuries as a whole,” said Callero, who met with coaches and trainers from the likes of Stanford and the Oklahoma City Thunder over the summer. “It’s happening at every level and every team in every sport.
“Kids, not only are their bodies better, they’re more explosive, they’re stronger, they’re quicker, which is the mathematic equation for things to break more.”
The good news for Cal Poly at the point is that they have some answers with Love being out, most notably Johnson (who will likely start now) and Kyle Odister with U’u also being able to give them some minutes there.
Cal Poly went 18-15 last season (8-8 Big West), posting their second-highest win total as a Division I member (19 wins in 2006-07).