Freshman point guard Dominic Artis has not been available to the Ducks since he sustained a foot injury on January 23rd against Washington State. He will not make his return against the Cougars this weekend, either, according to several sources.
Friday, Ducks head coach Dana Altman ruled out his freshman guard, making it the seventh game he has missed since going down with a foot injury.
The No. 23 Ducks are 3-3 without Artis in the lineup, though have won two straight after dropping the previous three with Artis out.
The 6-foot-1 first-year guard was averaging 10.2 points and a team-high 3.8 assists per game in the first 19 games that he started, leading Oregon to a 17-2 record.
Friday, CSN was informed by a source close to the program that Artis may have, in fact, broken his ankle, which has led to the long recovery time. Oregon refutes such information. Another source within the Oregon Men's Basketball program tells CSN's Jordan Whitley that Artis' injury is “just a little tweak and is not necessarily broken." The source continues, saying that Artis "will be back healthy hopefully soon.”
Oregon still sits atop the Pac-12 Conference, though its cushion is gone. UCLA and Arizona are tied for second place and trail by only a game.
Altman, regarding Saturday's game emphasized that his team has “got to get focused and get ready.”
The ambiguity from the Ducks program regarding Artis' injury and recovery time does pose a lot of questions, and speculation. Last week, Dana Altman called Artis' timetable for return "close", met with the latest source indicating "soon." Yet, there is no indication that Artis is anywhere close to being back ready playing for the Ducks, and his "day to day, game-time decision" status leaves opposing teams left to scout for the return of Artis, while suspecting Loyd will get the start.
For now, Johnathan Loyd will remain the starter in place of Artis though will also play through injury. Loyd said he hyper-extended his knee Wednesday versus Washington and has been nursing a hurt finger, as well. The hand-off has not been the smoothest, with Oregon averaging over 17 turnovers a game over this seven-game stretch without Artis running the show, while coughing the ball up 20 or more times in three of those games. Loyd has also struggled finding his shot, shooting under 30% from beyond the arc, 21.5% from the floor and 10 turnovers in the six games he has started.
Oregon will play in Pullman against the Washington State Cougars Saturday at 7pm.