Maybe N.C. State's basketball team caught the injury bug from the Wolfpack football team. C.J. Williams, the team's only returning senior and a projected starter at guard, suffered a hairline fracture in his left thumb and is out indefinitely.
Last week at ACC Operation Basketball in Charlotte, new Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said that Williams would have an expanded role on this team, which has its first preseason game Nov. 7 and opens the season four days later at home against UNC Asheville.
"I'm banking on him to have a breakout year," Gottfried said of Williams last week. "For us to be good, he needs to play well."
The N.C. State football team was down 12 injured players in the first week of October.
It's unclear how long Williams will be out. The injury is to his off hand, which was good news for an N.C. State program trying to find new life under Gottfried after a 15-16 finish under Sidney Lowe last season. It's been five seasons since the program's last NCAA tournament appearance.
Williams, a 6-foot-5 wing from Fayetteville, averaged 4.7 points and 2.4 rebounds last year and played his best basketball at the end of the season. He's one of the team's best defenders and top leaders.
"I think (Williams) could be a double-digit scorer for us," Gottfried said at Operation Basketball.
Gottfried could use a bigger lineup if Williams misses any portion of the regular season, with freshman forward Thomas de Thaey in the same lineup as forwards C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell.