Midway through the first half of UNLV's game against San Diego State, standout junior forward Ben Carter went down with an apparent knee injury. While he was unable to put any weight on his leg while being helped off the court, the initial report was a sprained left knee.
It turns out that was way too optimistic.
As first reported by Jon Rothstein, here, and later confirmed by UNLV, Carter has suffered a torn ACL that will end his season.
This is a tremendous blow to a Rebels team that had been playing better under interim head coach Todd Simon. Frontcourt depth was already an issue for this team, and now they just lost their most experienced, and arguably most important big man. The ramifications of this injury will be felt throughout the program and the rotation, as detailed on the Mountain West Connection earlier today.
Carter, who played his first two years at Oregon before transferring to UNLV and sitting out last year for his mandatory red shirt year, will have one year of eligibility remaining. Depending on how severe the tear is, he could potentially be out for most of his senior season.
ACL tears can require up to 12 months of recovery time, but basketball players have been able to.come back in almost half of that time. Worst case scenario, that could mean that Carter might not be available to rejoin the team on the court until this time next year.
However, if there is one thing to be optimistic about, it's that San Diego State guard Matt Shrigley tore his ACL back in July and he was back on the court playing for the Aztecs six months later.
Carter is known for his incredible work ethic, so there's at least hope he might be able to make it back in time for the start of the 2016-2017 season. We all know the Runnin' Rebels will need his leadership on the court for as many games as possible next season.