In the second half of Saturday night's Pac-10 opener at Berkeley, Justin Davis hurt his left knee as a Cal defender backed into him and fell on his lower leg. That hyperextended the ligaments in Davis' knee, and sent him out of the game. Though he felt soreness, a preliminary diagnosis did not indicate any damage, and Davis was given the decision to return to the game. He felt good enough to give it a try, but after running up and down the floor for a couple minutes, he could feel that his knee could not allow him to move normally.
An MRI investigation of the knee on Sunday revealed no damage to the ligaments or any cartilage or bones. The good news is that the injury is just a "moderate MCL sprain," according to team trainer JoHan Wang. "It could have been a lot worse, given how his knee bent. He could have torn his ACL on that play."
A torn ACL would have meant at least a 6 month absence for the emerging power forward star, and even a torn MCL would have kept him out though mid-March and possibly ended his season. Instead, the prognosis is day-to-day, with an expected 1-2 week absence. Davis is questionable for this week's games at Maples versus the visiting Oregon squads, though Wang would not rule a quick return. He does say that a return to action next week at the Washington schools is very reasonable.
"Every person is different with a sprain like this," explains Wang. "It depends on how the body recovers, and we have to look at that each day." Wang further noted that Teyo Johnson experienced a similar injury, though it was a more severe sprain, yet he recovered incredibly in just one week.
The training staff has already ordered a custom knee brace for Davis' left knee, which will arrive tomorrow. As soon as the 6'9" forward feels ready to test his knee out on the floor, he will be fitted with the brace, and likely will wear it for several weeks of added support.
Today was the first Stanford practice without Davis, and the most obvious adjustment was the move of redshirt sophomore Nick Robinson from the wings to the big men. He joined Rob Little, Joe Kirchofer and Matt Haryasz in the post drills with coach Eric Reveno, and played at the power forward slot in drills and scrimmage situations. Robinson previously has played at the small forward this year, though he did spend time inside last year.
If Stanford were to face Oregon State (Thursday's opponent) today, Robinson would likely get the starting nod in a straight replacement of Davis. Though another permutation that saw significant time on the floor in Monday's practice was a small three-guard lineup with Matt Lottich joined by Dan Grunfeld, and Josh Childress moved up to the power forward position.