Last-Minute Key Injury Updates for 2019 NCAA Tournament

Which injuries will impact March Madness? Photo Credit: Phil Roeder
  • Several key players are either out or banged up heading into March Madness 2019
  • Justin Robinson is back for Virginia Tech, which was 17-3 with him in the lineup
  • Kansas State is expected to be without Dean Wade for a second consecutive NCAA Tournament

We’re on the eve of the NCAA Tournament as all of the madness begins tomorrow. Before you place your bets, though, make sure to check in on the latest injury news. There are some significant bumps and bruises that could impact the lines, so let’s run through the key injuries and the statuses of the players.

Tyus Battle, Syracuse Orange

Injury Is he going to play in the first round? Timetable For Return
Sore Back Expected To Play Thursday

Battle has been out for about a week with a sore back but it has been announced that he’ll be play on Thursday in Syracuse’s opening game of the NCAA Tournament. He missed two games in the ACC Tournament. The injury occurred in the second half of the Clemson loss when he fell on his tailbone.

Battle is vital to the Orange; he’s their leading scorer at 17.2 points per game. They’ve had a rough go of things down the stretch, dropping seven of their last 11 games, so he’ll have to be in fine form for them to advance past No. 9 Baylor.

Marcus Evans, VCU Rams

Injury Is he going to play in the first round? Timetable For Return
Knee Injury Expected To Play Friday

Evans is battling a knee injury that he suffered last Friday ten minutes into VCU’s A10 Tournament loss to Rhode Island. The good news is that an MRI on Saturday found no structural damage. He’s the team’s starting point guard, averaging 13.8 points, 3.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds.

More good news: VCU starts their tournament on Friday and not Thursday, so he gets an extra day to heal.

The latest update with Evans is that he’s been upgraded to probable for Friday’s game against Central Florida.

Dean Wade, Kansas State Wildcats

Injury Is he going to play in the first round? Timetable For Return
Foot Injury Doubtful Miss NCAA Tournament

No. 4 Kansas State will start their tournament on Friday against No. 13 UC Irvine, but the Wildcats will have to be careful. The Anteaters have won 16 straight and are red-hot entering the NCAA Tournament.

Beyond that, Kansas State is expected to be without forward Dean Wade, who is second on the team with 12.9 points per game and is the team’s top rebounder (6.2 per game). He tweaked his foot multiple times down the stretch of the season and ended up missing the Big 12 Tournament.

Remember that Wade missed the NCAA Tournament last year and by all accounts from head coach Bruce Weber, Wade is already doubtful to play in this year’s March Madness too.

P.J. Washington, Kentucky Wildcats

Injury Is he going to play in the first round? Timetable For Return
Sprained Foot Expected To Play Thursday

No. 2 seed Kentucky seems to have a relatively easy path of making it to the Sweet 16 but things could get tricky if leading scorer P.J. Washington misses any time. The team’s leading scorer (14.8 points per game) and rebounder (7.5) has been wearing a walking boot since Sunday, although the team says it’s precautionary.

What we do know is that he sprained his foot in the Tennessee game and all MRI’s and x-rays came back negative. However, he’s seen a specialist, so something seems off. The latest news is that Coach John Calipari said Washington is expected to play on Thursday. Expect the team to be cautious given that they can beat Abilene Christian without him.

Jordan Caroline, Nevada Wolf Pack

Injury Is he going to play in the first round? Timetable For Return
Achilles Expected To Play Thursday

If the Wolf Pack are to beat No. 10 Florida on Thursday, they’re going to need the services of Jordan Caroline, who is second on the team in points per game (17.3) and leads the team in rebounds (9.6). He missed the Mountain West Tournament semifinal when Nevada lost to San Diego State.

Caroline has been battling an Achilles injury but it’s been mostly minor. It just flared up. Head Coach Eric Musselman said everything is fine and that Caroline will be 100% for Thursday’s game. What’s likely closer to the truth is that he’s going to play no matter what but we may or may not see this bother him.

Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech

Injury Is he going to play in the first round? Timetable For Return
Foot Injury Expected To Play Thursday

The Virginia Tech Hokies were 17-3 before they lost point guard Justin Robinson to a foot injury. They are just 7-5 since as he’s been out for 12 games. However, it was announced on Selection Sunday that he’s back for the NCAA Tournament.

According to the KenPom player ratings, Robinson ranks in the top five of player offensive rating of players who have a usage rate of 24%. The others are Zion Williams, Grant Williams, Cassius Winston and Kerry Blackshear, so that gives you an idea of just how valuable he is. The Hokies open their Tournament against the Saint Louis Billikens.

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