A thin Utah State basketball roster took two more shots it couldn’t afford on Monday when junior guard Preston Medlin and senior forward Kysiean Reed both received unfortunate injury news.
Medlin will miss 6-8 weeks with a fractured wrist, while Reed will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Both players suffered the injuries in the second half of the game against New Mexico State on Thursday night.
Medlin, the preseason WAC player of the year, is the Aggies leading scorer at 16.3 points per game. The junior guard is already in a cast and with a quick recovery and no setbacks could be available to play in the WAC Tournament in eight weeks.
“We listed it as 6-8 weeks, so there is potential that could end his season as well,” Morrill told KVNU’s Al Lewis during his weekly radio show.
Reed is the Aggies third leading scorer and second leading rebounder at 12.1 points and 6.5 boards a contest. The senior will undergo surgery on Thursday and has likely played his last game in an Aggie uniform.
Having played in 16 games this season neither Reed nor Medlin can be granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA. To qualify for a medical hardship a player must appear in less than 30 percent of the team’s games that season.
"First and foremost is our concern for Kyisean and Preston. This is as tough as it gets and we hurt for them first and our team second," Morrill said in a statement. "We expect our players to step up and compete, as we have a lot of season left."
These injuries are just the latest setback in a season marred with roster issues. A total of six Aggies have either left the program or will miss significant portions of the season. Junior college transfer Sean Harris was ruled out for the season with a knee injury before the season even began, guard Danny Berger is out indefinitely after collapsing during practice in December, while freshman Quincy Bair and Riley Bradshaw both left the team midseason.
With all the roster issues, the Aggies have just eight healthy players available for the rest of the season with no natural options off the bench at shooting guard, small forward or power forward. Marvin Jean will step into the starting lineup for Medlin while Ben Clifford will fill in for Reed. Off the bench, point guard TeNale Roland will be counted on to back up both point guard and shooting guard. Centers Matt Lopez and Jordan Stone will pick up some minutes at power forward allowing Jarred Shaw to concentrate solely on the center position.
Walk-on guard Connor Garner may suit up for the Aggies to give Morrill a ninth healthy body, but that decision has not been made.
“We’ve got to try and pick up the slack,” Morrill said during his weekly radio show on KVNU. “It does no good to be depressed.”
USU gets a chance to adjust without their stars at home this weekend as UT-Arlington and league-leading Louisiana Tech visit the Spectrum on Thursday and Saturday night respectively.
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.