Fields Out 8-12 Weeks

The news was anything but good for the Pitt men's basketball team, as junior guard Levance Fields will miss the next 8-12 weeks due to a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot suffered on a drive to the basket during Saturday's loss at Dayton.

Levance Fields will undergo surgery Monday at the UPMC South Side hospital. The surgery will correct the fracture and will be performed by Team Physician Dr. Freddie Fu and Assistant Team Physician Dr. Robin West.

"We're extremely disappointed for Levance,'' Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon said. "Levance has been a leader for us both on and off the floor. We expect him to make a full recovery and return sometime later in the season.''

The 8-12 weeks recovery time is on the high side, but certainly it will be at least two months before Fields can come back. Fields' injury was the second sustained by a Pittsburgh player in nine days, as fifth-year senior forward Mike Cook was lost for the season after an ACL tear against Duke Dec. 20.

Senior guard Ronald Ramon, who is expected to step into the point-guard spot for Fields, has struggled with a shoulder problem recently and re-injured it against Dayton. With a couple days off, he could play in Pitt's next game Wednesday. Ramon was treated briefly for the injury in the first half and returned. If he misses any time, it could only be one game.

However, he has contributed little and has been shooting poorly lately. Ramon is 1-for-15 from the field in the past two games, including 0-for-10 from 3-point range, and is shooting just 32 percent from long distance this season. He connected on 45 percent on 3-pointers last season.

The Panthers are down to nine scholarship players now, as redshirt freshman Austin Wallace was sidelined for the season after he fractured his patella in a practice prior to Pitt's win at Washington Dec. 8.

A 2006-07 All-Big East selection and two-time Bob Cousy Award candidate, Fields is in his second year as Pitt's starting point guard. Through Pitt's first 12 games, Fields averaged 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. He ranks fifth among Big East leaders in assists and second in assist-turnover ratio (2.83). He has started 49 consecutive games at Pitt.

Over his 82-game, three-year collegiate career, Fields averaged 8.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He is 13th on Pitt's all-time assists list (307) and is the career leader in assist-turnover ratio with a 2.36 mark.

Last week he was named the National Player of the Week and Big East Player of the Week after he scored 21 points and hit a game-winning fade-away 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds to defeat Duke.

Pitt (11-1) is back in action against Lafayette Wednesday at the Petersen Events Center. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on ESPN-U.

Notes: The 80-55 loss at Dayton was Pitt's worst in Dixon's tenure. ... Tennessee beat the Panthers 76-50 Dec. 4, 1999, when Ben Howland was the head coach in his first season, and Dixon was his top assistant. ... Louisville's 13-point win at the Petersen Events Center last season was the worst by a Dixon team.

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