The Kansas State basketball team will be without its starting point guard for at least a little while, and potentially the remainder of the season.
Kamau Stokes is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Stokes, a junior, hurt his foot while landing awkwardly during a 74-58 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday at United Supermarkets Arena. He played 15 minutes in the first half, but was unable to leave the locker room for the second half.
At the time, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber and K-State players held out hope the injury could be minor. It was not. The Wildcats announced via news release Sunday that Stokes will miss an undetermined amount of time while recovering.
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“I’m incredibly disappointed for Kamau and his family,” Weber said in a statement. “He has worked extremely hard to become one of the top guards in the Big 12. I know that he will come back from this setback and become an even better player.”
Stokes will leave a big void in K-State’s starting lineup. He was having his finest season in a K-State uniform, averaging 13.4 points and 4.6 assists. He was leading K-State in three-pointers, assists and minutes played.
Redshirt freshman Cartier Diarra will likely replace Stokes at the point when K-State plays its next game against Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
The Wildcats got a taste of what it will be like without Stokes during the second half against Texas Tech.
“It was tough playing without Kamau,” junior guard Barry Brown said. “He is dynamite, a threat and one of our key guys. To not have him in the second half, it was tough. But adversity strikes, we have got to keep playing.”
This is not the first time Stokes has missed an extended period of games due to injury. His freshman season was also cut short with a knee injury. He missed K-State’s final 12 games of the 2015-16 season.
The Wildcats struggled to replace him then. They hope for better results now.
Diarra, who scored 11 points against the Red Raiders, seems ready for the added workload.
“I was never scared,” Diarra said Saturday. “I don’t think anything out there is too much for me. It would be more conditioning (if I start), just getting ready to play more minutes and stuff like that. I have just got to get in the gym and run and condition myself more.”
K-State’s bench will also have to increase its scoring production without Stokes.
“The big thing, if we don’t have Kamau, is replacing 15 points a game, right?” Weber said. “That is not going to be easy. We are going to have to find other ways, and that is where the bench is going to be important.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett