Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Michael Gilchrist, the No. 1 junior in the nation out of Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick High School, will miss approximately two weeks with a right knee strain after his MRI results came back negative Friday.
The 6-foot-7 Gilchrist could miss the Celtics’ nationally televised game against Findlay (Nev.) Prep Jan. 18 in the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. St. Pat’s and Findlay are ranked 2 and 3, respectively, in the latest PrepNation.com poll.
“It’s most likely around two weeks, give or take several days depending on how the rehab goes,” St. Patrick coach Kevin Boylesaid.
“It was a strain, not a tear. It’s bruised, not torn.”
Gilchrist injured the knee Tuesday night during a win over Union and then sat out Thursday’s victory over Linden at Kean College.
He was averaging 16.2 points before the injury.
Kentucky and Villanova lead for his services, but other schools are involved as well.
The Celtics have showcase games Saturday and Sunday and Boyle said he wasn’t certain if Gilchrist could make it back for the Findlay game, which will be shown on ESPNU.
“Who knows?” Boyle said. “I would say roughly around two weeks. That [Findlay] would be premature. Is that impossible? I couldn’t anwer that.”
Findlay possesses a big front line that features 6-9 Texas-bound forward Tristan Thompson, meaning Gilchrist’s absence will be magnified.
“Obviously, size-wise it’s going to be difficult versus Findlay, but we’ll see,” Boyle said. “But our guys expect to win when we play.”
Without Gilchrist, Duke-bound point guard Kyrie Irving, Western Kentucky commit Derrick Gordon, uncommitted senior Kevin Boyle Jr. and the rest of the team will have to step up.
“Obviously, [Gilchrist] is a big part of our team in many areas,” Boyle said. “He’s our best rebounder, our best shot-blocker. He’s one of our bette scorers, one of our better defenders. He’s important in many aspects of the game. Other guys have to step up.
“He’s possibly the best junior in the country. You’re not going to be as good without him as you are with him.”
Still, Boyle pointed out that the Celtics beat Jared Sullinger and All Ohio Red over summer without Gilchrist and Gordon.
“In the summer we beat All Ohio Red without him or Gordon,” he said. “In the short term, hopefully we can put together a little run.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.