When it finally came, the news for St. John's senior forward D.J. Kennedy was just as bad as it looked when he fell to the court writhing in pain in the first half of a 79-73 loss to Syracuse Thursday in the Big East Tournament. An MRI exam revealed Kennedy tore his right anterior cruciate ligament, and he is out for the season.
Before teammate Justin Brownlee even knew the final diagnosis, he labeled Kennedy's injury "tragic" in the post-game locker room. Kennedy has been a leading member of the Red Storm's nine-man senior class that has worked so hard for four seasons to reach the NCAA Tournament. Now, with that goal well in hand heading into Selection Sunday, Kennedy will be denied the opportunity to take the court with his teammates in an NCAA tourney game.
No surgery has been scheduled for Kennedy, but his recovery time is expected to be six to eight months. "I've wanted to play in the NCAA Tournament since I picked up a basketball in grade school, and this is a real blow," Kennedy said in a statement. "I am disappointed on a personal level, but I am happy that I will be with my teammates on the road during the tournament, supporting them the way they always support me."
Kennedy averaged 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds this season and was valuable for his versatility as a secondary scorer to Dwight Hardy, and a player who could just as easily lead the Red Storm in rebounds, assists, steals or blocked shots. "This is a tough time to lose both a leader and vital member of our team," coach Steve Lavin said. "D.J. Kennedy has consistently influenced the game at both ends of the floor throughout our successful season. We will miss his leadership, versatility and experience.
"Our basketball family is determined to bring an inspired effort to pay tribute to D.J. Kennedy for his outstanding contributions to our program. Our players recognize we would not be participating in the NCAA Tournament without D.J.'s efforts. He will continue to add value as we continue our postseason journey."