UCLA will have to deal with another injury to its roster as the school confirmed an Associated Press report that forward Cody Riley will miss time with an injured jaw.
The 6-foot-9 Riley is expected to miss at least the first three weeks of the season after suffering the injury during Wednesday’s practice. A redshirt freshman who missed all of last season after being involved in UCLA’s Chinese shoplifting scandal, Riley is expected to be a key frontcourt piece for the Bruins this season.
UCLA is already dealing with season-ending dilemmas with freshman big man Shareef O’Neal and freshman guard Tyger Campbell while junior forward Alex Olesinski is also out after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot in late September.
With Riley now being sidelined as well, UCLA’s frontcourt — which at one point looked like it might be a deep group this season — is starting to look thin. Now that Riley, Olesinski and O’Neal are out, the Bruins will turn to freshmen big men like Moses Brown and Jalen Hill while another freshman, Kenneth Nwuba, might also be forced into early action. Sophomore wings like Kris Wilkes and Chris Smith could also slide to the four if UCLA wants to throw some smaller and quicker guard-oriented lineups on the floor.
Riley (and also Olesinski) should be able to make a full recovery before conference season begins as UCLA opens its regular season with four straight mid-major programs. The Bruins face their first major test of the season on Nov. 22 when they face Michigan State in Las Vegas in the opener of the two-game Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.