Nov 19, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Gophers forward Joey King (24) is helped off the court by the athletic trainer in the second half against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Williams Arena. The Gophers defeat the Chanticleers 82-72. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
As if the Gopher front court could get any thinner, forward Joey King will miss at least one game with a fractured jaw following a collision with Andre Hollins in the second half against Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night.
The sophomore Drake transfer had surgery on Wednesday and will miss Minnesota’s game against Wofford on Thursday at Williams Arena, but King will travel with the team to Maui next week as the Gophers are set to compete in the Maui Invitational with a first round date against No. 9 Syracuse on Monday night.
The injury news comes at the worst possible time for the Gophers as in addition to Mo Walker’s suspension, the injury leaves head coach Richard Pitino with only two viable options in the front court — Eliot Eliason and Oto Osenieks.
While the team has not said how long King could be out, it’s a good sign he’ll be traveling to Maui. But whether he’ll play is another question which obviously resides with the severity of the fracture.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward fractured his jaw in late August after getting hit by a pitch and subsequently sat out for four weeks. Detroit Piston point guard Brandon Jennings also had surgery after fracturing his jaw this offseason and sat out three weeks, returning in time for the second game of the regular season.
King is a key player off the bench for Pitino’s Gophers as he was averaging 10.3 points and nearly three rebounds per contest.