East Tennessee State loses leading rebounder to torn patellar tendon

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East Tennessee State’s interior depth took a hit earlier this week when senior forward Ron Giplaye suffered a knee injury on Wednesday. According to Joe Avento of the Johnson City Press Giplaye tore the patellar tendon in his knee, and the injury is a season-ending one.

The injury is the latest setback for Giplaye, who underwent open heart surgery in August 2013 and played in just five games last season. Through six games in 2014-15 Giplaye was averaging 4.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 18.2 minutes of action per game, leading the team in rebounding.

“Obviously, he’s an important guy,” ETSU head coach Murry Bartow said on Wednesday. “He’s our leading rebounder and one of our best post defenders. If we lose him, it would be tough for us right now.”

With East Tennessee State having played in just six games, there’s a chance that the program could petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility for Giplaye. Giplaye played two seasons at Providence College before transferring to ETSU in 2012.

Without Giplaye the Bucs will need even more from senior Alex Bates, who’s averaging 3.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes of action per game. Bates has started five of ETSU’s six games.