A second knee injury in one year may cost one of the country’s top point guards a second season.
Northwestern State’s Jalan West re-injured his left knee last week and may not be healthy enough to play the upcoming season, the school announced Tuesday. West tore his ACL and suffered cartilage damage while doing a drill in practice.
West, who averaged at least 19 points per game in his last two full seasons, was granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA this spring after the initial knee injury, suffered in the Demons’ 2015-16 season opener, sidelined him.
“He was cleared to practice. It’s agonizing for this to happen for such a top quality person, who has worked so hard to get back to full speed,” said coach Mike McConathy in a statement.
“He’s the kind of person you want to coach, you dream of coaching. He’s told us that what hurts so badly is that he has such a desire to win a championship with this group of teammates who have stood by him.”
Northwestern State isn’t ruling out a return by West this season as an aggressive rehab schedule could have him ready to hit the court by March, but given the severity of the injury and that it’s the second time he’s injured the same knee, that would appear to be an incredibly optimistic forecast.
“It can take six months, it can take eight or 10 months,”McConathy said. “We do know Jalan will do all he can to get back to full speed.”
The loss of West is a significant one not only for Northwestern State, but college basketball at large. West was one of the game’s more dynamic offensive players at 5-foot-10, averaging 20 points and 7.7 assists as a junior. The Demons went 8-20 last season without him.