A Monday morning injury update revealed nothing but bad news for Northwestern.
Jared Swopshire's right knee is still being evaluated, but NU coaches are bracing for the possibility of losing him for more than just Thursday’s game at Ohio State.
And freshman center Alex Olah suffered a concussion Saturday at Iowa; he will miss a minimum of one game.
“I just talked to him and he is not feeling that great,” NU coach Bill Carmody said. “Medically, I don’t know, but he won’t be ready for Thursday.”
That means backup center Mike Turner will get extended minutes, and Turner is undersized at 6-foot-8, foul-prone and in a major offensive slump. He has scored just three points over NU’s last seven games, shooting 1-for-11 from the field and 1-for-2 from the line.
TCU transfer Nikola Cerina also will get a look an extended look at center but he still has not fully recovered from an ankle injury suffered in November.
Losing Swopshire might be even worse because the graduate student had emerged as NU’s best rebounder, averaging nine over his last six games. He grabbed seven boards in 26 minutes at Iowa before injuring the knee on a drive to the basket.
“I’m hoping (the injury) is not real serious; we will see,” Carmody said. “He was really starting to influence games the last few weeks by becoming more aggressive. He has a real calming presence out there. So it’s tough.”
Northwestern, 13-11 after the loss at Iowa, has suffered a major personnel drain this season.
It started with the season-long suspension of JerShon Cobb, largely for academic issues, and then hit Drew Crawford, who needed season-ending shoulder surgery.
Alex Marcotullio (back) and Reggie Hearn (ankle) missed time. Sanjay Lumpkin (wrist) and Chier Ajou (knee) will seek medical redshirts, along with Crawford. And Cerina said his ankle won’t be 100 percent until the spring.
With Swopshire and Olah out, Carmody figures walk-on James Montgomery III will join the rotation. And freshman Kale Abrahamson will get major minutes.