With 3:28 remaining in Wednesday night’s matchup with No. 21 Iowa State, BYU freshman forward Eric Mika was injured when DeAndre Kane swiped at the basketball and ended up striking Mika in the face. Due to the force of the blow Kane was called for a flagrant two foul, resulting in his ejection, but the bigger concern for BYU was the long-term status of their best post player.
According to Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune the injury isn’t as bad as originally feared, with doctors diagnosing Mika with a right eye abrasion after scans revealed no broken bones or structural damage. Mika finished the game with 17 points and nine rebounds, and for the season he’s averaging 13.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest.
And while Iowa State certainly deserves credit for the victory, Mika’s absence did have an impact down the stretch according to BYU head coach Dave Rose.
“Eric did give us a real presence inside, scoring with the ball, but what he really did for us was offensive rebounds,” Rose said. “He had five offensive rebounds. We missed quite a few short shots late that were around the rim that Eric probably could have helped us with.”
According to the report Mika was to be re-evaluated on Thursday in order to determine his status for BYU’s next game, with the Cougars meeting Texas in Kansas City on Monday night in a CBE Classic semifinal. If Mika were unable to go even more would be required of Nate Austin, who accounted for six points and a game-high 13 rebounds on Wednesday night.