Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Laurence Bowers tears acl, Mizzou's Big 12 title hopes take a hit

Its now official.

Missouri forward Laurence Bowers will miss the rest of the season after tearing an acl in a pickup game on Monday afternoon.

This is just difficult news for an outstanding young man and representative of our athletics department," head coach Frank Haith said in a statement a couple hours after news of the injury broke. "I have had a chance to talk with Laurence a few times and he is doing well. I know he is anxious to get started on his rehabilitation and he will continue to be a big part of the 2011-12 team. It's obviously a tough loss for us as a basketball team. He's an All-Big 12 type player. He's one of our best defenders and he brings a great deal of versatility, but our primary concern is to help Laurence through the recovery process."

Bowers is a genuinely liked kid, the kind of player that turned himself from an under-heralded recruit into an NBA prospect. Seeing him lose his senior season -- a chance to end his playing career with guys like Kim English and Marcus Denmon, who he has been teammates with for four years -- is certainly not pleasant.

The loss is a huge blow to the Tiger's hopes of winning the Big 12 this season. Already thin up front, Bowers was the team's best rebounder, second-leading scorer and most versatile defender. Given the lack of size on this season's roster and the struggles they have had defensively, there is an argument to be made that he was the most valuable player on Mizzou. How important does George Goode's decision not to enroll at Missouri and to instead finish his career at FDU appear now?

With Kansas reloading, Texas rebuilding and Baylor, well, being Baylor, this was supposed to be Missouri's season to win the league.

But between Bowers' injury, the head coaching change, the potential NCAA violations facing Frank Haith and the ever-present rumors swirling about Mizzou's involvement in conference realignment, it seems like destiny is just not on the Tiger's side.

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