Knowing that they would probably be without leading scorer and second leading rebounder Casey Cook for a good chunk of time, juniors Josh Davis and Michael Chambers spent a little extra time after practice Monday working on their games.
There’s more encouraging news: neither player was injured.
Monday’s x-ray of Cook’s right foot revealed a fractured fifth metatarsal, an injury that has a minimum recovery allotment of six weeks and could potentially sideline the Gauchos’ star player for the rest of his senior season.
“It’s the pinky toe. It’s a bone in the middle of his foot that goes up from his pinky toe,” a contact from UCSB’s media relations said. “It’s called a Jones fracture.”
If Cook rehabilitates in the minimum expected recovery time, he could potentially return for the February 16 contest against Pacific in Stockton.
Cook suffered the injury in the first half of Sunday’s game at Northridge, in which the Gauchos lost 70-50. Cook hurt his right foot making a cut when he heard a pop. Cook attempted to get up, but in the face of considerable pain, was unable to.
The injury is just the latest for Santa Barbara, and Head Coach Bob Williams has now seen four of his top players suffer an injury. UCSB also discovered this week that it would be without junior guard Cecil Brown and redshirt freshman Chris Devine. Also missing in action at the moment is sophomore forward David Kennedy, who has an injured right leg, and freshman forward Chris Moore, who is academically ineligible to play.
Santa Barbara will only have eight players healthy enough to suit up for Thursday’s game at Utah State, last year’s co-Big West regular season champions and a favorite to repeat the conference title again.
“Everybody needs to bring it now,” junior guard Josh Davis said. “We can’t afford not to show up every night.”
The void Cook leaves in the middle is 10.8 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, four years of experience and senior leadership.
Freshman forward Derek Rasp is the leading candidate to replace Cook in the starting lineup. Rasp, a 6’5″ walk-on from Camarillo, has averaged 3.3 points per game in 10.2 minutes per contest.