John Williams’ hope to be back with the Cal State Fullerton basketball team for the final week of the regular season and the Big West Conference tournament ended Tuesday.
Williams’ broken right wrist was reexamined by the team’s orthopedist, Dr. Joseph Cummings, who determined that Williams can’t play for at least three more weeks.
“This is really unfortunate for John and unfortunate for the team,” Coach Bob Hawking said. “He was having an outstanding year, and his impact on the team was tremendous. I feel especially bad for him because this is his senior year.”
Williams, a 6-foot-5 power forward, was leading the Titans in scoring (17.6 points) and rebounding (6.9) when he was sidelined. He was averaging 21.4 points in conference games.
Williams slipped on a wet spot on the floor at Titan Gym in the second half of the Utah State game Jan. 23, falling on his wrist.
Fullerton (11-11, 4-8 in the Big West) has four games remaining in the regular season, two this week and two next week, before the men’s conference tournament begins March 7 in Reno.
Either a Fullerton victory or another loss by UC Irvine, which is in last place in the Western Division with a 1-11 conference record, would assure the Titans a berth in the tournament.
Fullerton plays Western Division-leading Pacific on the road Thursday, then is at Long Beach State Saturday before closing the regular season next week with home games against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Santa Barbara.
The Titans were 9-6 before Williams was injured but have won only two of seven games without him. Both those victories were against UC Irvine, which has won only once in 21 games.
With Williams out, the Titans have gone to a three-guard lineup of Chris Dade, Chris St. Clair and Ali Nayab.
“We’ve certainly become very perimeter-oriented without him,” Hawking said. “But we’ll still tinker around to see we can do inside to try to get more balance. But even without John, we’ve been competitive. We just have to come to grips now that we’re not going to have him.”