STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Penn State's Geary Claxton will miss the rest of the season after tests Wednesday confirmed that the senior will need surgery on a torn knee ligament.
It's a stunning blow to the Nittany Lions, who were riding a seven-game winning streak, their longest since 2000-1, and the momentum of two straight Big Ten road wins until blowing a 16-point lead this weekend and losing Tuesday night.
``He wanted to do great things for us this year,'' coach Ed DeChellis said Tuesday night. ``But now we've got to figure out what our next move is.''
Claxton tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and had a bone bruise during Penn State's 80-55 loss to No. 17 Wisconsin, team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli said. Surgery is scheduled for late this month or early February.
After a disappointing 11-19 season last year, DeChellis appeared to have Penn State (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten) back on the upswing with a deeper team of athletic players and Claxton leading the way.
But the Nittany Lions gave up a 16-point, second-half lead in a 76-73 loss Saturday to Minnesota after a disastrous 17-of-36 showing at the foul line.
An athletic 6-foot-5 forward who showed NBA potential, Claxton, finished his college career as the school's fifth-leading scorer (1,542 points) and fourth-leading rebounder (755). The senior was leading the team this season with 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, and had paced Penn State in scoring in his three previous seasons, too.
Sebastianelli said it could take at least nine months for Claxton to be ready for basketball again.
``It's devastating for Geary,'' DeChellis said. ``I just feel horrible for him. I really can't put in words how I strong I feel about him as a kid.''
As if things weren't tough enough for the Nittany Lions, their first game without Claxton will be Sunday at No. 9 Indiana.
``We've got to try to go back in two days and revamp what we're doing,'' DeChellis said. ``We've got to go back and look at everything, so it's going to be a long couple days.''
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