Michal Cekovsky certainly has been hit hard by the injury bug throughout the 2016-17 season.
On Monday, Maryland announced that Cekovsky would miss the remainder of the season due to a fractured ankle. The Slovakian native suffered the injury in the second half of Sunday’s 71-60 loss to Wisconsin.
The injury was suffered with just under four minutes remaining in the contest. He went to the floor right under the basket and immediately grabbed for his ankle.
Cekovsky underwent an MRI on Monday afternoon that revealed the break. The junior center will undergo surgery in the near future, but there isn’t currently a timetable for the procedure.
It’s been a rough year for Cekovsky as he missed 10 games, including the first four of the season. Prior to fracturing his ankle, the former four-star recruit was averaging 7.6 points and 2.8 rebounds.
Cekovsky’s numbers may not reflect it, but he really showed a ton of promise throughout the year. It seemed like every time he was about to break out, he’d suffer another injury.
He finished in double figures in seven games and recorded multiple blocks in five contests. He proved to be a force on both ends of the floor when he was healthy.
Now with Cekovsky missing the rest of the campaign, what does this mean for the Maryland frontcourt going forward?
First of all, the Terps will look for more production from center Damonte Dodd.
Dodd is currently averaging 6.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 19.2 minutes. His minutes will likely increase without Cekovsky being a key cog off the bench for coach Mark Turgeon to lean on.
When Dodd plays 20 or more minutes this season, he is averaging 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 71.4 percent (30-of-42) from the floor. Dodd can be incredibly effective when he stays out of foul trouble and is aggressive around the basket.
Dodd’s main strength is his ability to alter shots around the rim. His 2.1 blocks lead the team and he’s also an above-average rebounder despite only grabbing 4.5 per contest.
Forward Justin Jackson is another frontcourt player that Turgeon will look to for increased production.
Jackson’s play has dipped in a big way since averaging 25.0 points and 11.0 rebounds over a two-game stretch in late January. In wins over Minnesota and Ohio State, the Maryland freshman drilled 75 percent (9-of-12) of his shots from three-point range.
Since that hot stretch, the East York, Ontario native is only averaging 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. He’s still shooting the ball well from three (64.3 percent), but he hasn’t been attempting nearly as many shots.
Jackson can also make an impact on the glass due to his size and athleticism. His 6.2 rebounds-per-game rank 10th in the Big Ten.
Ivan Bender will also likely play more minutes, but one player to keep an eye on is L.G. Gill.
Gill really hasn’t played much this season (just 12.7 minutes-per-game). However, he has produced at times when he’s seen a decent amount of time on the floor.
Offensively, Cekovsky definitely was able to produce quite a bit. With him being on the shelf, Gill does offer something that many of Maryland’s bigs don’t: perimeter shooting.
On the season, Gill is shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. While he hasn’t attempted a ton of threes, he did make just above 33 percent of his long-range shots during his three seasons at Duquesne.
Gill is also an extremely athletic big that takes the ball up strong inside. He can slash his way to the basket at a high rate as well.
Gill hasn’t seen the court a ton based on the depth that the Terps had at the position. He played just eight minutes against Wisconsin, but would’ve seen a lot more time if he wouldn’t have accumulated all five of his allotted fouls.
Certainly, the loss of Cekovsky isn’t ideal this close to postseason play. However, Maryland does have the depth and athleticism to try and overcome it.
If Dodd and Jackson can play up to their potential, the Terps might still be able to make a run in the Big Ten and even the NCAA Tournament.