Nobody died, so, the drama coming out of the Syracuse locker room following a 91-84 loss to Georgetown in the Big East quarterfinals today might seem a little overblown to some. But the sight of massive senior forward Arinze Onuaku being helped off the court after suffering a right knee injury with 5:07 left in the game left the No. 3 Orange in a somber mood because of how much it means to Onuaku and to their NCAA title hopes.
It looked bad when Onuaku was rolling around in pain on the floor, and the look on coach Jim Boeheim's face was grim in the postgame news conference when he announced that his big man had suffered a "sprain" and will be reevaluated after undergoing an MRI on Friday.
In the locker room, sixth man Kris Joseph said, "I prayed on the court that it's something he can get over in a few days. Arinze is like a big brother, so, it hurt me a lot to see him get hurt. We're going to keep him in our prayers."
If Onuaku can't get back, there are a couple ways Boeheim can go. The most logical is to start 7-0 freshman DaShonte Riley in the post. At 233 pounds, he doesn't eat up space in the paint as Onuaku does, but he also can step out and hit the 15-footer. Another option would be to work 6-8 freshman forward James Southerland, who is from Bayside, into the lineup and go small. He's athletic and gets to the rim with ease.
"A small lineup is what we like to get into transition," Joseph said.