HPU men lose Brown to injury for rest of season
Disappointment was detectable in Scott Cherry’s voice.
“It has not been a good day,” the High Point University coach said by phone late Thursday afternoon.
It wasn’t good for Cherry or his program when the news came that John Brown, the redshirt freshman center who is the team’s leading scorer and second leading rebounder, won’t play any more this season as a result of a foot injury suffered in the opening minute of the Panthers’ loss to Radford on Wednesday.
HPU has one regular-season game left on Saturday and, thanks to a first-round bye as North Division champs, will start play in the Big South tournament on Thursday.
“It certainly didn’t come at a good time,” Cherry said. “We’ll try to regroup and win this last regular-season game and the conference tournament.”
HPU spokesman Jon Litchfield said that x-rays revealed Brown, averaging 17 points and 6.3 rebounds, suffered a broken metatarsal.
Litchfield said Brown will not require surgery and that the team’s medical staff estimates recovery time to be 6-8 weeks. That would be far longer than any action past the conference tournament that the Panthers would see if invited.
Brown was injured on the Panthers’ second possession as he drew the defense and passed to Allan Chaney for a dunk that was HPU’s first bucket of the game. He went to the locker room and didn’t return until midway in the second half, walking with the aid of crutches with his foot, ankle and portion of his calf wrapped.
Cherry said the team took the news well.
“They were good at practice,” Cherry said. “I think they pretty much knew after Wednesday. But, they were upset at losing the game in addition to losing one of their teammates. So know they can fight back or let it overwhelm them, and I think they will fight because they have done it all season.”
Without Brown, the Panthers struggled in the first half against Radford while adapting to his absence. In the second half, they used pressure defense to put together a 21-5 run to go up 56-49 with 5:07 to go. But, they went more than four minutes without scoring and lost 63-58.
Cherry said that he hasn’t totally decided how he will reshape the offense to compensate from the lack of Brown’s presence inside. He said one possible change could be moving Lorenzo Cugini from the wing to power forward at times and moving another guard into the playing rotation.
“We’ll start four seniors and someone else because it is Senior Day, so that will be unusual,” Cherry said. “Beyond that, I haven’t decided what we are going to do.”