Oregon's men's basketball team will be down to eight scholarship players for its rematch with Boise State on Saturday.
Oregon coach Dana Altman said Thursday that sophomore forward Kenny Wooten will likely miss four to six weeks due to a fractured jaw suffered in last week's 57-47 loss at Baylor. Wooten will join Bol Bol and Abu Kigab on the bench when the Ducks (8-4) visit the Broncos (5-7) at 4:30 p.m. at Boise State's Taco Bell Arena.
“Injuries are a part of basketball, part of any team sport,” Altman said during a conference call with Pac-12 coaches. “We talk to our guys about fighting any adversity that comes up during a season or in a game. This is tougher on Bol and Abu and Kenny because they want to play and don’t get the opportunity. It is tough on those guys but the rest of them have to pick it up. The coaching staff has been through it before, not quite like this, but we have been through injuries so we need to keep them up and keep them moving and get some young guys ready that haven’t played quite as much.”
Senior Paul White is the lone post player with much experience for the Ducks while freshmen Miles Norris and Francis Okoro will likely play more minutes in upcoming games. The 6-foot-9 Okoro is averaging 9.5 minutes while Norris has played 17 minutes in the past two games after deciding not to sit out a redshirt season.
Freshman Louis King has has his minutes increased in each of the five games he has played since returning from a knee injury.
“We have had trouble establishing a lineup this year with Louis coming in late and injuries,” Altman said. “Francis will have the opportunity to play more and Paul needs to go inside and give us some good minutes. Miles will get an opportunity. We will have to play small a bit, so it does change things.”
The 7-foot-2 Bol, who leads Oregon with 21.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, has missed four straight games with an injury to his left foot. Altman said Bol “continues to get evaluated” with no timetable set for his return.
Kigab has missed the past three games since suffering a sprained ankle in a 66-54 win over Boise State on Dec. 15. Altman said it is unclear if he will be ready to return for the start of Pac-12 play against Oregon State on Jan. 5.
Wooten, who averaged 6.6 points while ranking behind only Bol on the Ducks with 4.9 rebounds, had surgery Monday. He could miss the first half of conference play.
“It is a matter of how quickly he heals and when the doctors release him, but we estimate four, five or six weeks,” Altman said.
Bol and Wooten combined for 43 of Oregon’s 58 blocked shots. Okoro ranks third on the Ducks with four blocks.
“It takes two very talented young men out of our lineup,” Altman said.
Wooten has started 11 of 12 games, but when he came off the bench against Florida A&M while battling a sickness, Altman started three guards as sophomore Victor Bailey joined Will Richardson and Payton Pritchard to open the game. That lineup left senior Ehab Amin as the lone guard off the bench.
“Every game it will be different,” Altman said. “Game situations dictate things so we will see how it comes along. Miles will get an opportunity with Abu out and we need Ehab to step up and give us minutes. It is still a work in progress, so we have to have guys get better and continue to develop and get comfortable playing different roles. That has been a problem for us early in the year so I hope we get good leadership out of Payton and Paul, our two guys with the most experience.”