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Pitt Basketball: Ashton Gibbs Injured

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Ashton Gibbs will be out of action for a while (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Ashton Gibbs will be out of action for a while (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Pitt has gotten through the season relatively free of injuries. Nasir Robinson missed several games early on, but since then, the team has not battled any significant injuries.

That all changed Saturday when Ashton Gibbs injured his knee in the Cincinnati game. Pitt now faces several games without its best player.

I have to say that on the play he was injured, I was surprised Jamie Dixon didn't take him out to at least see what was wrong. He was hobbling pretty badly (even though it took Rob King, who was calling the game, a little while to see it). But later in the game, I didn't notice that and it seemed like he was fine, so I chalked it up to just minor stiffness.

It is a bit more than that:

Pitt junior guard Ashton Gibbs will miss the Panthers game tomorrow against West Virginia because of an injury to his knee (MCL).

No timetable has been set for his return, but it is anticipated he could be out for as long as two weeks.

Pitt spokesperson Greg Hotchkiss said "wear and tear" on Gibbs' knee caused the injury. Gibbs will wear a brace that will allow the injury to heal and avoid surgery or further injury to the knee.

Gibbs' father, Temple Gibbs, at least sounds optimistic and doesn't think the injury is a huge deal:

"He kind of came down awkwardly last night [on a rebound]," Temple said. "I think he’ll be fine."

Without Gibbs, we may be back to seeing the 'old Pitt' for a while. That's not particularly a bad thing, but if Pitt is to win, it might need to be through more of a grind-it-out style.
 
So where does this leave the Panthers? Based on the 10-14 game timetable, the best-case scenario would have Gibbs coming back for the February 16th game against South Florida. Worst case is that he would get back for Pitt's February 24th home game against West Virginia.
 
It also means we'll be seeing more of Travon Woodall, Lamar Patterson, and probably J.J. Moore. Woodall will likely get the starting spot and will work in the backcourt with Brad Wanamaker.
 
Gibbs may be the player Pitt can least afford to lose (with the exception of maybe Gary McGhee). He is the top scorer and has been playing extremely well lately, averaging 24.5 points per game over the past two contests. The projection of 10-14 days has him missing the tough road games against West Virginia and Villanova this week. That's huge and if Pitt even gets a split out of that, they would be incredibly fortunate.
 
And while we're on the topic of Gibbs, Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin had some great things to say about him in his press conference after that game. But that wasn't nearly the best part of it as Cronin went into talking about Yancey Gates' suspension and what it means to be a college player. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's definitely a must-read.