N.C. State’s lineup will be smaller for Saturday’s preseason game against Morehouse and perhaps the next six weeks.
An ankle injury will sideline senior forward Jordan Vandenberg for four to six weeks, the school announced Friday.
Vandenberg sprained his left ankle early in the first half of Wednesday’s preseason win over UNC-Pembroke. If the 7-footer’s recovery takes the full six weeks, he could miss as many as nine regular-season games.
“Don’t count me out just yet,” Vandenberg posted to his Twitter account Thursday night.
Vandenberg, a fifth-year senior with four career starts and a 1.2 career scoring average, made great strides in the offseason. He lost 40 pounds, to get down to 245 pounds, and had worked his way into the starting lineup.
Vandenberg had shown a chemistry with point guard Tyler Lewis in the Red-White game and early in Wednesday’s win over Pembroke. Vandenberg had 12 points and seven rebounds in the Red-White game and four points in 5 minutes against Pembroke.
He turned his left ankle, which has been diagnosed as a Grade 3 sprain, at the 14:59 mark and did not return to the game. N.C. State won 96-85 but Pembroke finished with a 19-6 advantage on the offensive glass.
“We have to figure out how to rebound better with a smaller lineup,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said after Wednesday’s win.
Freshman Kyle Washington started with Vandenberg on Wednesday, and Gottfried used T.J. Warren at forward with Washington for long stretches of the second half.
Gottfried could start guard Desmond Lee and use Warren at forward or keep Warren on the wing and start freshman forward BeeJay Anya or freshman forward Lennard Freeman.
With or without Vandenberg, Gottfried was trying to figure out his best combinations with five of the top six scorers gone from last year’s NCAA team.
N.C. State faces Morehouse at 5 p.m. Saturday at PNC Arena.