According to an Iowa State release, Cyclone forward Melvin Ejim will be out for 4-6 weeks after suffering a hyperextended left knee and bone bruise in practice Wednesday. The remarkably durable senior has started 93 games for Fred Hoiberg and needs 31 more to tie ISU's career starts record. It can still happen with a run in either the Big 12 or NCAA tournaments, but seems unlikely for now.
How Big Is This Injury?
For a Cyclone squad that comes into the season with a lot of promise but a lack of depth, especially in the frontcourt, this injury comes to the worst possible member of the team. Preseason All-Big 12 pick Ejim finished the 2012-13 campaign averaging 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a game, leading the Big 12 in both rebounding and double-doubles (15), and the versatility he provides is something that nobody else on the roster can replicate. As Travis Hines notes, the parting of ways with Richard Amardi is looking to be a bigger and bigger issue with each passing day.
When Will Melvin Be Back?
If Ejim returns after 4 weeks, he should return for the matchup with the Auburn Tigers on December 2nd, missing major matchups against BYU and Michigan, while the 6 week projection would have him also missing games against Northern Iowa and Iowa. This injury definitely puts a huge damper on hopes of upsetting Michigan on ESPN2 and makes revenge against Iowa in Hilton Coliseum much tougher, it's certainly preferable for it to happen in November than during conference season.
What's The Lineup Going To Look Like Without The Nigerian Nightmare?
As far as how the lineup will be configured, the likely result is a small/even smaller ball lineup of Naz Long being inserted into a 3 guard lineup, with Dustin Hogue sliding over to the 4. Alternatives include Monte Morris or Sherron Dorsey-Walker. When the Cyclones need to go big, it likely means more minutes for Percy Gibson, who may or may not be over his sophomore slump after a promising freshman year.
AIRBHG Is On The Move
With the Melvin Ejim knee injury tacked on to all the MCL injuries that have afflicted the football team, it seems quite obvious that the AIRBHG (Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God) has most certainly traveled 2 hours Northwest to Ames and become far less picky with its prey.