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Basketball

Melvin Ejim to miss 4-6 weeks with knee injury; analysis

Paul Rhoads’ injury woes have been passed onto Fred Hoiberg

Iowa State sent out a somber press release on Thursday afternoon stating that senior forward Melvin Ejim will miss 4-6 weeks after hyper-extending a knee in practice on Wednesday. 

Ejim, who has started 93 games in his career, was on pace to break Jeff Grayer’s career-starts record at Iowa State, which is currently at 124. Ejim needs 31 starts to tie the record. If he comes back at the start of December, he’d have a chance but a strong postseason run of some sort would need to be made to accomplish the feat. 

Ejim, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, averaged 10.3 points while leading the Big 12 with 9.3 rebounds per game last season. 

What next?

Fred Hoiberg is now in quite the predicament.

In a normal year, it would be a "get his rest and get him back for the Big 12" situation but this is no normal non-conference schedule for the Cyclones. The way it looks, Iowa State will go to battle without Ejim when Michigan comes to town on Nov. 17, as well as a road trip to BYU on Nov. 20. 

If he only misses four weeks, Ejim would be back for games against UNI and Iowa on Dec. 7 and 13, along with the Diamond Head Classic over Christmas. 

Who’s the starting five?

My "guess" is that Naz Long will slide in to play the three, which would move Dustin Hogue to the four and Georges Niang to the five. That’s a guess though. That’s also an insanely small lineup. 

If you want to take any bit of good news from this, it’s that the injury occured on Oct. 30 and not Jan. 30. Really, there are only two games during the month of November that this should affect (key word should). 

We will all learn more on Sunday when Iowa State hosts Augustana in an exhibition game at 5 p.m. 

Tune in to tonight’s U.S. Cellular/Cyclone Fanatic Radio Show for more analysis on the situation as Brent Blum and I will interview Iowa State assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih from 7-8 on 1460 KXNO. 

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