Mountain West gives New Mexico guard Cullen Neal medical hardship year

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The 2014-15 season got off to a rough start for New Mexico, as starting point guard Cullen Neal went down with a serious ankle injury in the team’s third game of the year. The injury, suffered at the Puerto Rico Tipoff, was ultimately a season-ender for Neal and it was one of many hits the Lobos took from a health standpoint.

Friday afternoon the school announced that its request for a medical hardship waiver for Neal had been granted by the Mountain West. As a result Neal retains that season of eligibility, meaning that he’ll have three years left to play at UNM.

Neal scored 26 and 23 points in New Mexico’s first two games before suffering the injury in the Lobos’ loss to Boston College, and without him things changed considerably for head coach Craig Neal. Hugh Greenwood, who was expected to spend the majority of his time playing off the ball, had to move back to the point. And other injuries throughout the course of the season led to New Mexico finishing with a 15-16 record.

Cullen Neal will be asked to lead the way for UNM next season, and that would have been the case regardless of the Mountain West’s ruling. The good news is that he’ll have three more years to lead the way as opposed to two.