With 17:08 left in the second half of the Red Storm's 68-56 loss to Georgetown, point guard Jamal Branch - a key component of the Johnnies now-departed 5 game winning streak - was hit in the back of the leg by a falling Nate Lubick, Georgetown's brawny power forward. Branch lay on the ground and had to be helped to the bench by Chris Obekpa and Sir`Dominic Pointer.
He was helped to the locker room, left knee encased in ice, before the end of the game.
"We just do not have enough info right now" to evaluate the injury, said Coach Steve Lavin (per Vin Parise).
The Hoya Sports reports that his injury is, as originally classified, a left knee sprain for now. He will continue to be treated with ice and will be evaluated when the team returns to New York.
Branch, the Texas A&M transfer from Kansas City and the Houston area, averaged 10 points per game during the 5-game winning streak with 3 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists/ game, and 2.6 steals/ game. His presence allowed Lavin to have an effective, dynamic shot creator to either to spell D`Angelo Harrison or to draw attention from him and Jakarr Sampson - as well as a player who could distribute.
Branch had assisted on a zone-busting jumper from Jakarr Sampson before his incident with Lubick, fighting for a loose ball. Without Branch, contending with three teams with fast, electric guards (Connecticut, Syracuse, and Louisville) becomes that much tougher a task for Steve Lavin's St. John's squad.
The Rumble will continue to post updates on Branch's situation as we learn them.
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