Frazier's loss a big one for Illini

March, 13, 2009
03/13/09
3:19
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Word of Illinois guard Chester Frazier's likely season-ending broken hand caused a ripple in Big Ten locker rooms Friday.

"He's their heart and soul," Michigan State guard Travis Walton said. "That's going to be tough."

Champaign News-Gazette writer Paul Klee reported via sources Friday that Frazier broke his right hand in the Illini's practice Wednesday and had surgery on the hand Thursday. He definitely is out for the Big Ten tournament and probably the bigger tourney to come, although Klee's story said Illinois was holding out slim hope for his return.

Frazier has transformed himself into a vital player during his senior season, specializing in defense and becoming a team leader. His absence likely will be felt immediately, as Illinois has to turn to someone else to guard Michigan shooting guard and leading scorer Manny Harris when the teams tip off tonight.

Until today, Illinois has had the same starting lineup all season.

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