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Key injuries to watch for during 2021 NCAA Tournament

Who won’t be on the floor during March Madness that might make a difference? We take a look at the status of some primary players here.

Will Iona cover the spread against Alabama?

Being healthy at the right time is key for any team making a run in the NCAA Tournament. One missing player in the wrong matchup can be the difference between cutting down the nets and flying home early.

Here’s a look at some of the key injuries that could affect the NCAA Tournament, and they are ones to watch out for ahead of filling out your brackets.

Josh Primo - Alabama

Primo has a knee sprain, and is day-to-day. He averages 8.4 points and 3.1 rebounds for the SEC champions.

“We’ll try to get him back for the NCAA tournament at some point. It’s not something where he’s going to be out, where he requires surgery or anything like that. He should be back playing this year, whether it’s tomorrow, next weekend, Sweet 16, hopefully we get him back here soon,” said his head coach Nate Oats on Saturday.

ShanQuan Hemphill - Drake

Hemphill had foot surgery on February 11th, but looks to be a go for the First Four against Wichita State. His head coach said everything is still on course for him to play. Hemphill averaged 12.3 points 5.7 rebounds per game until being shut down.

Moses Wright - Georgia Tech

UPDATE: The person in question is ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright. He is asymptomatic but will not play during the opening weekend.

Head coach Josh Pastner told the media “one member of [their] travel party tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be available to participate in the NCAA Tournament this weekend.” He did not reveal who was involved, but Loyola has moved from a 1.5-point favorite to 4.5-point favorite and the point total has come down from 127.5 to 125 at DraftKings Sportsbook.

David McCormack - Kansas

UPDATE March 17, 12:50 p.m. McCormack will be available for Kansas’s first round game against Eastern Washington on Saturday.

McCormack tested positive for COVID-19 before the Big 12 Tournament, and his status for Kansas isn’t known at this time — though his coach Bill Self said he expects him to play. One of the best big men in the conference, McCormack averages 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Jalen Wilson - Kansas

UPDATE March 17, 12:50 p.m. Wilson won’t be available until the Round of 32 at earliest.

Wilson did not travel with his team to Indiana today. The 6’8 forward averages 12.2 points and 8.2 rebounds pre game, and would be another huge loss for the Jayhawks.

Isaiah Livers - Michigan

Livers is the star forward for the Wolverines, but is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his foot. His status for the balance of the tournament is questionable, but it’s not looking good for the first weekend.

Kyle Young - Ohio State

A head injury suffered in the Big Ten Tournament has put Young’s status in question. He’s day-to-day for now, and averages 8.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

De’Vion Harmon - Oklahoma

The Sooners’ second leading scorer has been ruled out of the first two rounds after testing positive for COVID-19. He will have to quarantine for the next ten days.

John Fulkerson - Tennessee

Fulkerson had a surgical procedure on his face after a nasty collision last Friday against Florida in the SEC Tournament. His status is up in the air for the first round.

Fulkerson averages 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds a game for the Vols.

Johnny Juzang - UCLA

The leading scorer for the Bruins rolled his ankle late in UCLA’s 86-80 win over Michigan State in the First Four, and had to be carried off the court. It’s been diagnosed as a sprained ankle, but we don’t know his status for Saturday’s game against BYU yet.

R.J. Cole - UConn

Cole hit his head on the floor with under five minutes left against Creighton in the Big East semifinals and was bleeding on the court. He suffered a mild concussion and is in the protocol. His coach Danny Hurley said since their first game is on Saturday, Cole has a better chance of returning than if it was on Friday.

As the starting point guard, Cole averages 12.3 points and 4.4 assists per game.

Collin Gillespie - Villanova

The senior point guard for the Wildcats is out for the season with an MCL tear. ‘Nova has lost both games without him so far, 54-52 at Providence, and 72-71 vs. Big East champion Georgetown in the conference tournament quarterfinals.