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Arizona basketball: Kadeem Allen sidelined with knee injury, return date is unclear

Arizona is down to seven scholarship players in the meantime

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Providence Practice Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats were down to seven scholarship players in their 78-66 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday night.

While Allonzo Trier continues to sit out for unspecified reasons, Kadeem Allen missed the game because of a right knee injury, and there’s currently no timetable for his return, Arizona head coach Sean Miller said afterward.

“I don't really know a timeline or prognosis,” Miller said of Allen. “We’re taking it at two to three-day increments, hoping that the swelling is okay. He doesn’t have any structural damage. There’s no surgery needed, but he’s unable to play at this point.”

Miller did mention that it’s not likely to be a long-term injury.

“I don’t think he has an injury that’s going to take him a long time to get back but we’re certainly not going to lose sight of the big picture and rush him back,” he said. “Kadeem would like to play right now but he can’t.”

The senior guard suffered the injury Friday against Michigan State — before he hit the game-winning layup.

“To his credit, he really gutted it out,” Miller said.

With Allen out, it leaves Arizona thin in the backcourt, with Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Rawle Alkins, and Kobi Simmons as the team’s only scholarship guards.

In Allen’s absence against Cal State Bakersfield, 7-footer Lauri Markkanen played the 2-guard spot for the first time in his life and walk-on Paulo Cruz made his first appearance of the season.

“That’s part of what the injuries do, they take you out of sync,” Miller said. “Not just the player you’re missing, but everybody is affected by that one player that’s missing, especially somebody like Kadeem because as you know, he might be our most important player based on what he does both on defense and on offense.”

If Allen is forced to miss more time, Kobi Simmons will start in his place. Simmons is averaging 15.5 points per game, and scored 13 points in Allen’s place against Cal State Bakersfield.

Miller also said the team’s walk-ons — Cruz, Jake DesJardins, and Tyler Trillo — will have to be ready to play.

“We don’t need those guys to make offensive plays,” Miller said. “Paulo did a really good job the second time he came (into the game) just killing a couple minutes, allowing one of our starters to take a deep breath and play through foul trouble. And we’ll learn to trust him more.

“Paulo hasn’t practiced a whole lot with Team 1 or Team 2, so a lot of his role in practice is to make our team better, now we’re going to give him a different role where we’re going to give him some game reps, and that’ll help him. Ditto for Tyler and Jake— their number wasn’t called tonight but it could get called on Friday, so we’re asking everybody to be ready.”

The Wildcats (2-0) return to action Friday when they host Sacred Heart. While Miller didn’t rule Allen out for the game, it does seem unlikely that he’ll suit up.

Tipoff in McKale Center is set for 8 p.m. MT and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire