There was not much clarity from Oregon surrounding Bol Bol’s foot injury.
The school put out a two-sentence press release before Saturday’s 66-54 win over Boise State to announce that the 7-foot-2 freshman center would miss the game due to an injury suffered during the week.
As for Bol’s status moving forward?
“Lower leg injury,” was the only explanation given by UO coach Dana Altman following the victory in front of 8,506 at Matthew Knight Arena. “We will play it day by day.”
Asked how and when the injury occurred, Altman for the third time repeated “lower leg injury” with no additional information.
Senior forward Paul White said the Ducks were not certain that they would be without Bol until the team arrived for a pregame shootaround to see that he was not in uniform.
Bol was on the bench for the game with a boot on his left foot and walked with a limp. He seems unlikely to return for Tuesday’s game against Florida A&M and his availability for upcoming road trips to Baylor and Boise State is suddenly in doubt.
With three weeks remaining until the start of Pac-12 play, Oregon looks much different than the team that was picked to win the conference without Bol, who leads the Ducks with 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocked shots per game
“Bol brings a lot to the table so we need to step up and help with the things he leaves behind,” UO sophomore Victor Bailey said. “The guys need to come together and focus.”
Oregon took another hit when starting forward Abu Kigab injured his left foot in the second half and returned from the locker room with an ice pack covering his foot. Altman said he had not received an injury update on Kigab from trainer Clay Jamieson before he met with the media.
With Bol and Kigab out, Altman put 6-foot-10 Miles Norris on the court for the first time this year. but the coach said that plan was put in place last week when the true freshman told the coach he wanted to play this season rather than sit out a redshirt year.
Norris played just 69 seconds against the Broncos, but freshman Francis Okoro got his most playing time in more than a month with five points in 13 minutes. White returned to the starting lineup and had 14 points and five rebounds while Louis King played 21 minutes in his third game back from injury.
“Francis played a bit more and we played Lou a bit at the ‘4’ and Paul at the ‘5’,” Altman noted.
Those three will team with Kenny Wooten and Kigab to provide an inside presence for Oregon without Bol.
“We can run a lot of the same stuff,” Altman said. “Francis needs to get more comfortable scoring the ball. We can throw it inside to him and get some better action. Francis sets very good screens, better than Bol so we may get some more downhill stuff. We just have to play different.”
Junior guard Payton Pritchard scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half as Oregon rallied from a four-point halftime deficit.
White drove for a basket to open the second half and King made a three-pointer to put Oregon up 29-28. Boise State took its last lead at 32-31 before Oregon followed with seven points in a row.
After the Broncos closed within 46-41 with 10:18 to play, Pritchard made two free throws and King followed with two more free throws. Pritchard tipped in a missed shot and scored again before making a three-pointer to put the Ducks up 57-46 with 6:08 left to play.
“Payton jumped into his Allan Iverson bag,” White said. “It was tough buckets in crunch time and we were grateful for that.”
White’s 14 points were his most since an opening win over Portland State as he went 4-for-6 from the field while making one three-pointer and five free throws.
“I wouldn’t say it was some revelation that I had to do more, I just saw opportunities and took them,” he said. “I let the game come to me.”
Pritchard and White combined for half of Oregon’s points.
“I thought Paul had a good game all around and defensively, he was solid,” Altman said. “Payton with five rebounds and three steals, his overall game was pretty good.”
Bailey had 13 points off the bench for the Ducks, who shot 13-for-20 in the second half after making 8-of-23 shots in the first half. Boise State had a 18-12 edge in rebounds during the first half before Oregon beat them 21-8 on the boards in the second half.
“I think we did a better job moving the ball, in the first half it was sticking,” Bailey said. “In the second half we made it a point to get the ball moving and once we did that our offensive did what id does and we started getting buckets.”