Sophomore center Charles Bassey suffered a left knee injury during the second half of an 86-79 overtime victory against Arkansas on Saturday night and will require season-ending surgery to address a tibial plateau fracture, the WKU men’s basketball program announced Monday afternoon.
Bassey will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Houston with the team physicians for the NFL’s Houston Texans and NBA’s Houston Rockets. These physicians also performed surgery on Texans star JJ Watt when he suffered a similar injury during the 2017 season.
The Lagos, Nigeria, native’s rehab process will start immediately after surgery with an anticipated recovery time of six to nine months.
Bassey received an outpouring of support from users on Twitter, including a message from teammate Taveion Hollingsworth.
Bassey scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in 22:59 of playing time against the Razorbacks before an awkward landing with 3:40 remaining forced him to exit the game.
Hilltopper fans chanted “Bassey” as the 6-foot-11-inch big man exited the court with the assistance of teammate Matt Horton, unable to put any weight on his injured extremity.
Head coach Rick Stansbury said postgame that he didn’t know the extent of Bassey’s injury, but he confirmed Bassey would have an MRI at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The MRI, a CT scan and an X-ray each indicated that surgery was necessary for the NBA Draft hopeful.
Entering Saturday’s game against the Razorbacks, Bassey had accrued 143 points, 86 rebounds, 15 blocks and eight steals during the 2019-20 season, which made him the only player in the nation with at least those numbers as of Dec. 5.
He also earned the Conference USA Player of the Week award for the first time in his career on Dec. 2 after averaging a double-double for the Hilltoppers in two neutral-site games.
Bassey will conclude his abbreviated sophomore campaign on the Hill averaging 15.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 10 games played for the Hilltoppers this season.