(Courtesy: Keith Gary)
Much like he was following Lehigh’s 75-70 upset win over Duke in the NCAA tournament last March, standout guard C.J. McCollum found himself trending on Twitter Saturday night during and after the Mountain Hawks 59-55 loss at VCU.
Only this time, it was for all of the wrong reasons.
McCollum left the game against the Rams with just over five minutes remaining in the first half and did not return to the court. While there has been no official word from Lehigh, the early signs are not good.
You didn’t have to be much of a lip-reader to know the prognosis, however, when NBC Sports Network zoomed in tight on a visibly upset McCollum after he returned to the bench in the second half and mouthed to a teammate, “I broke my foot.”
McCollum, who had only missed the Dec. 20 game at North Texas in his 3-1/2 years under Coach Brett Reed, left the arena with a heavily wrapped left foot and sporting a pair of crutches.
“I’ve never missed a game in my life,” McCollum said after missing the win over North Texas. “I hurt my ankle, sprained it. I have done it before, but never so close to a game. If I could’ve walked, I would’ve played.”
While the injury against the Rams appears to be much more severe than a sprain, it occurred on an innocuous looking play while McCollum attempted to break down Briante Weber on a drive to the basket.
Pulling up lame after darting to his right, the nation’s leading scorer dished to Anthony D’Orazio who made a jumper from the corner as McCollum hobbled toward the sideline.
A video of the sequence can be found here.
The Mountain Hawks have a game against Division III Muhlenberg on Tuesday before opening their Patriot League schedule against Holy Cross on Jan. 12.
What is expected to be a dead-heat against Bucknell for the PL automatic bid would be tilted decidedly in the Bison favor should McCollum be out for an extended period of time.
For their part, the Lehigh Athletic Department has released only a few details and tweeted “Quick update on C.J. McCollum, all we know now is he’s suffered a foot injury. Will know more over the coming days. Check back for updates.”
For probably the best insight immediately after the game including quotes from Reed and VCU Coach Shake Smart, who knows McCollum well, check out the USA Today story by Nicole Auerbach.
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