UNLV freshman forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. is out with a sprained left knee, and it’s uncertain when he will return.
He was ruled out indefinitely after undergoing an MRI on Monday morning and then being checked out by team doctors.
Zimmerman was injured in the first half of Saturday’s 111-104 double-overtime loss at Fresno State. The Rebels (13-11, 4-7 Mountain West) next play San Jose State (8-15, 3-8) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“This is another tough injury for our team right now,” UNLV interim coach Todd Simon said in a statement. “We feel terrible for Stephen and know he will work extremely hard to get back on the floor.
“With the loss of Ben (Carter) for the season and now Stephen, we are down to seven in our normal rotation of guys. It is another obstacle, but they are committed to working hard and putting forth great effort.”
Carter, who like Zimmerman went to Bishop Gorman High School, was lost for the season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 30 against San Diego State. The injury to the 6-foot 9-inch forward made the Rebels thinner and smaller.
Losing the 7-foot Zimmerman makes the challenge that much more difficult for UNLV. He averages 10.6 points per per game and a team-leading 9.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots.
The Rebels got a strong sense of what to expect at Fresno State after Zimmerman went down midway through the first half. UNLV went with a lineup that included guards Patrick McCaw, Jordan Cornish and Ike Nwamu and forwards Derrick Jones Jr. and Dwayne Morgan for most of the game.
That lineup played the final nine minutes of regulation, all of overtime and nearly midway into the second OT before Jones fouled out and a substitution had to be made.
Jerome Seagears has started all 23 games in which he has played — he didn’t play against Prairie View A&M because of the flu — but McCaw was the one who took over at point guard against the Bulldogs. McCaw played 47 minutes in that game compared to 22 for Seagears, just the fourth time this season Seagears has been on the court for so few minutes.
McCaw, in fact, played 28 of the 30 minutes in the second half and both overtimes.
Whether Simon makes a change at point guard will be announced today when he meets with the media. He also is expected to expound on whether the Rebels will stick with the 2-3 zone defense they employed for most of the game against Fresno State.
— Contact Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65