There’s a lot going on at 770 N. 12th Street in Milwaukee right now, and a lot of that lot going on is stuff I can’t get my arms around right now.
What I can get my arms around is the health of Marquette men’s basketball sophomore guards Chase Ross and Sean Jones. Let’s get everyone on the same page with what’s going on there.
On Saturday against Seton Hall, Chase Ross went out within minutes of checking into the game after going down to the court at the Prudential Center clutching his shoulder. After the game, Marquette head coach Shaka Smart used the phrase “got it back in” in reference to Ross’ shoulder, which indicates that it was a separation at best and a dislocation at worst. Either way, doing something that can be explained as “putting your shoulder back in place” sounds like zero fun and I presume that even 20 year old me wouldn’t have been excited about playing in a no stakes basketball game four days later. I can’t imagine Ross’ level of disinterest in attempting to play with his shoulder in a Big East basketball game, so the pregame announcement that Ross was out against Butler came as no surprise.
It’s also not a surprise that Ross’ timeline extends past this week, but now we have a definitive mark here, as the team also announced that his shoulder will be re-evaluated “later this month.” Just doing some relative “words have meanings” work here, that’s not “next week” which means the evaluation is coming on January 22nd at the absolute earliest. Given the way that the calendar falls in January, I wouldn’t be surprised to see “later this month” mean January 29th.
In short: When I saw MU say “later this month,” I marked Chase Ross as “out until February at best.” That’s just logic puzzling my way through it, I’m not a doctor, I don’t have access to Ross’ charts, I didn’t stay at a Holiday In Express last night.
Keeping in mind that “I’m not a doctor” stuff, but I think I know what I saw when I saw Sean Jones go down howling in pain and grabbing his knee late in the second half against Butler on Wednesday night.
I was in the gym watching Marquette women’s basketball when Erika Davenport blew out her knee in 2019. I was in the gym watching Marquette volleyball when Hope Werch blew out her knee, and I was maybe 50 feet away from Werch when it happened. Based on how those two reacted to their injury — the immediate collapse, the immediate loud vocalization of pain, the immediate clutch of the knee — I watched Sean Jones plant in transition and blow out his knee.
Shaka Smart confirmed that sense of things on the radio with Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith, saying that it “looks pretty serious.” Athletic trainers are capable of diagnosing injuries by feel, but official announcements aren’t made until medical imaging is done. I presume MU’s staff has told Jones and Smart exactly what they have diagnosed, but here, on Thursday morning, less than 12 hours after the game tipped off on Wednesday, we don’t officially know.
But I think it’s safe to presume that Jones won’t play again this season.
UPDATE: Marquette announced on Thursday afternoon that Sean Jones has torn his ACL and he is done for the year.
Marquette guard Sean Jones will miss the remainder of the 2023-24 season after suffering a right knee injury (ACL) Wednesday night against Butler. Surgery is planned for the coming week. Appeared in all 16 games, averaging 5.8 points and 2.0 assists.#MUBB | #WeAreMarquette— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) January 11, 2024
With Ross on the shelf for the time being and Jones presumably out long term, that leaves Marquette with nine active available scholarship players. That includes freshman big man Al Amadou who has played just 29 minutes all season and none at all in the last three games. It also leaves Marquette shorthanded in the backcourt, which was a position of depth to start the season, to the point where we wondered how freshmen Tre Norman and Zaide Lowery would earn minutes in a rotation that was largely going to stay intact from a year ago. It’s important to remember at this point that point guard Tyler Kolek suffered what was believed to be a serious ankle sprain back in the first week of the season, and Stevie Mitchell missed four games right before Christmas with a hamstring issue.
This isn’t the answer to that puzzle that we wanted to see, but it is the answer that the Golden Eagles have been handed. How Smart and his staff reassemble the pieces going forward will determine where MU goes from their 2-3 start to Big East play after Wednesday night’s home loss to Butler.