In Saturday afternoon's tense contest with Delaware, Georgia State lost the game as well as their best player, R.J. Hunter, suffered a stress fracture to his foot, putting the rest of the standout freshman's season in jeopardy.
Georgia State wasn't exactly elated when it lost the seventh of its last eight games Saturday. But the bigger loss came with three minutes remaining in the contest with Delaware, when RJ Hunter went down with an apparent foot injury; he left the game, unable to return.
Things got even worse when they discovered that it was a stress fracture, the same injury to the same foot that plagued Hunter in high school.
Ron Hunter, Georgia State's head coach and R.J.'s father, said that his son might not be back with the team until they play William & Mary on Wednesday, limiting practice time.
That was assuming that today's MRI went well.
MRI....pray for the best...— R.J. Hunter III(@RJH_22) January 14, 2013
The preliminary report out of the test is that everything came back negative and that Hunter -- the player, not the coach -- is now a game-time decision against the Tribe.
That result should save the Panthers from having to play the rest of the season without R.J. Hunter, the , the team's leading scorer who has been a total offensive rock for GSU.
He has scored in double-digits in all but three of the Panthers' seventeen games this year, scoring twenty or more six times. He even garnered support from Dick Vitale in his New Year's Eve "Diaper Dandies" article, detailing his favorite freshman in the country.
If this ends up getting worse -- and there is no sign that that is what will happen -- this would be an absolutely huge blow to the Panthers' already handicapped offense. Hunter leads the team's three-headed attack alongside Manny Atkins and Devonta White, but the team's downfall this year has been the lack of support scoring. Without Hunter, expect the Panthers to suffer even more.
The question is: should Ron Hunter even consider bringing his son back this season? A young player like R.J. can always benefit from quality playing time and experience, but if his foot isn't 100 percent, what's the point of risking further injury, especially given Georgia State's situation in the conference?
Remember that the Panthers are headed to the Sun Belt next season, and as a result are not eligible for the CAA postseason tournament, and given their record, have very little chance of a postseason appearance.
He'll have to weigh the pros and cons of playing his son at this early point in his career.