For the second straight year, opening night has brought devastating news for Yale.
Per NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster, the Bulldogs are expected to be without star guard Makai Mason for a significant amount of time due to a stress fracture in his right foot. Mason suffered the same injury in a preseason scrimmage last summer and missed the entire 2016-17 season.
The second-to-last time Mason took the court, he was brilliant. He poured in 31 points as the Bulldogs upset Baylor in the first round of the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament, capping off a season that saw him average 16.0 points and 3.8 assists per game.
Yale was able to regroup and post a solid 18-11 (9-5) season a year ago, in part because of strong contributions from sophomore forward Jordan Bruner (8.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG). But the bad news came in multiples for James Jones, as Dauster is also reporting that Bruner will miss the season with a torn meniscus.
The pair of injuries deal a severe blow to a team that was expected to compete for the Ivy League title with Harvard and Princeton. The Bulldogs, who checked in at No. 20 in our preseason rankings, will now rely heavily on junior point guard Alex Copeland and sophomore wing Miye Oni.
They open the season this evening at Creighton, and follow that up with a trip to Wisconsin on Nov. 12.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that if the two-month timeline mentioned by Dauster for Mason’s recovery is accurate, Yale could get a major boost as conference play begins. Here’s hoping to seeing Mason again in Yale blue before he transfers to Baylor after the season.