The momentum that Illinois Chicago picked up from Wednesday night’s win over rival DePaul came crashing down today, as the school announced sophomore Dikembe Dixson tore his ACL during the game. Dixson will undergo surgery to repair the damage, but will miss the remainder of the season.
Dixson entered this season with high expectations, following a freshman campaign in which he was named Horizon League Freshman of the Year. He was averaging 20.3 points and six rebounds per game this season for the Flames.
The Flames have been a trendy pick to shake things up in the top portion of the Horizon League standings this year. Dixson along with a talented class of incoming freshmen were expected to break UIC out of the Horizon League cellar where they have been the last few years.
It is hard to imagine the Flames living up to the preseason hype without Dixson. However, they did manage to take down DePaul last evening with Dixson missing the second half after the injury. While the Flames are certainly worse off without Dixson, a catastrophic event like this could bring the team together and force other players to step up.
If there is anything positive both Dixson and UIC can take away from this, it is that he could be awarded a medical hardship waiver and take this season as a redshirt, by virtue of playing in fewer than 30 percent of the team’s scheduled games:
UIC has 31 games scheduled this year. Dixson's 10 games would fall below the 30 percent threshold. Just barely apparently. #HLMBB— Paul Oren (@NWIOren) December 15, 2016