Ole Miss shelves Warren with torn ACL
JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi point guard Chris Warren is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in the last minute of a loss to No. 9 Louisville on Thursday.
Warren appeared to step awkwardly as he drove to the basket and fell to the floor, clutching his knee. Friday's MRI exam showed a torn anterior cruciate ligament among other injuries.
The loss is devastating for the Rebels, who had already lost starter Eniel Polynice and key reserve Trevor Gaskins to left knee injuries.
"I feel terrible that he will be unable to finish this season," coach Andy Kennedy said. "We've had an unfortunate rash of knee injuries through the early part of the season, but we will come together as a team and continue to push forward. To lose a special player like Chris, in addition to Trevor and E.P., certainly affects what we are able to do on the court."
Warren, a sophomore from Orlando, Fla., is the Southeastern Conference's fourth-leading scorer with 19.6 points per game. He's No. 2 in steals with 2.45 per game and eighth in assists with 4.0 per game.
He scored 18 against Louisville in a 77-68 loss during the SEC/Big East Invitational in Cincinnati, hitting a 3-pointer to tie the game with 5:31 to play.
Warren hit a school-record 103 3-pointers and helped lead the Rebels to 24 wins -- the second most for Ole Miss -- and the NIT semifinals in a phenomenal freshman season. At 5-foot-10, he's among the fastest point guards in the SEC and the key to Kennedy's up-tempo style.
The MRI exam also revealed a medial meniscus tear and a sprained medial collateral ligament.
It's unclear who the Rebels will turn to with Warren out. The most likely candidates would have been Polynice and Gaskins, but he tore his ACL just before the season and Polynice was lost after doctors found a torn meniscus and pieces of cartilage during follow-up surgery last month.
Only four guards on scholarship remain on the active roster, and two -- David Huertas and Zach Graham -- already start. Will Bogan, a 6-1 freshman from Caldwell, Idaho, has been Warren's backup, but he's averaged 7.5 minutes per game and taken just 14 shots.
Terrico White is another freshman who could contribute, but the 6-5 guard from Memphis, Tenn., played shooting guard in high school.
The Rebels were struggling even with Warren in the lineup during this transition year. Ole Miss began the season with new starters at center and power forward, had to find a replacement at Polynice's small forward position and now have to replace Warren. Huertas is the only starter left from last year's team.
Ole Miss has lost three of its last five and has the added distraction of Kennedy's arrest in Cincinnati on a misdemeanor assault charge, after the coach was accused of hitting a cab driver and using racial slurs. He denies both accusations, pleaded not guilty and faces a Jan. 16 hearing.
The Rebels return play Florida A&M on Monday in Oxford.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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