Not only did New Mexico lose its Puerto Rico Tipoff opener against Boston College on Thursday, but they also lost their starting point guard Cullen Neal. Neal rolled his left ankle in the second half of the 69-65 defeat, and according to Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal the sophomore isn’t expected to play again this weekend.
How long could Neal, who’s averaging a team-best 17.0 points along with 3.4 assists per game? That remains to be seen, with the plan being to reevaluate the ankle once the team returns to Albuquerque.
[New Mexico head coach] Craig Neal told the Journal on Friday morning from San Juan, Puerto Rico, that while an X-ray revealed “no major fracture,” that there is still a concern for possible ligament damage or a hairline fracture. The Lobos won’t know the full extent of the injury until the team returns to Albuquerque early next week and has an MRI conducted.
As Grammer also noted in the story, not having Neal means that senior Hugh Greenwood will spend even more time at the point than originally anticipated. Greenwood is the team’s second-leading scorer while also averaging a team-best 4.0 assists per game, and against Boston College he racked up 24 points, three assists and three steals.
No other Lobo reached double figures in the loss, and players such as Deshawn Delaney and Devon Williams will need to raise both their productivity and consistency with Neal out of the lineup. New Mexico takes on George Mason Friday evening, with a game against either Texas A&M or College of Charleston set for Sunday.