Wisconsin fans have been eagerly anticipating information regarding the status of Ryan Evans after the senior forward left practice on Thursday with a knee injury. It appears an update will be coming later Friday afternoon.
From Wisconsin's official men's basketball Twitter page:
Thanks to all the great #Badgers fans concerned about Ryan Evans and his injury. We hope to have more information later today.— Patrick Herb (@BadgerMBB) March 1, 2013
Much of the Badgers' fan base has been highly critical of Evan's struggles this year, as the senior has seen his points per game average and shooting percentages drop from previous years. Evans' 10.5 points-per-game are close to his 11.0 from 2011-12, but his 39.3 percent mark from the field and 8.7 percent from three-point range are significantly lower than his 39.3 and 26.3 percent figures, respectively. Evans' free throw struggles have garnered the most criticism, considering the senior forward is shooting 41.4 percent from the free throw line after never dipping below 61.3 percent, which was his freshman-season total.
Nevertheless, as Jackson Dahlquist laid out in this morning's Badger Bits, losing Evans for any period of time this late in the season -- a potentially season-defining game at Michigan State looms next week, not to mention this Sunday is Wisconsin's Senior Day -- would be awful.
All Badger fans should hope his injury is of only the day-to-day variety, because disturbing the nice eight-man rotation Wisconsin is rolling with right now would be devastating. The boys have won seven of nine, are playing their best basketball of the year at the right time and still have a legitimate shot to come out on top of this crazy Big Ten title race.
If you set aside Evans' above-average defensive skills and that rebounding prowess (he ranks third in the Big Ten in that category), the Badgers simply aren't as dangerous. Look at Michigan State -- if Evans misses that game next Thursday at the Breslin Center, matching up with Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix down low becomes a nightmare. Frank Kaminsky is the ideal role player for the Badgers because he can mix it up off the bench, but asking him to effectively defend either of those players for 30 minutes isn't realistic.
We'd like to limit any speculation, of course, but one thing that might be worth taking heed of: the Badgers were pretty quick in announcing Josh Gasser's season-ending torn ACL back in October, sending out a press release on a Saturday night after he suffered the injury in practice earlier that morning. Granted, Wisconsin did have a football game -- that heartbreaking loss to Michigan State -- to slip that news out during.