Already mired in 0-3 start, Fordham faces another blow with all-Atlantic 10 forward Chris Gaston now on shelf due to arthroscopic knee surgery. (Photo courtesy of the YES Network)
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse around Rose Hill following Fordham's 0-3 start, the Rams have yet another mountain to climb this morning upon hearing that senior forward Chris Gaston; the first team all-Atlantic 10 double-double machine that has been among the few bright spots for head coach Tom Pecora since arriving from Hofstra, will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery later today that will keep him off the court for approximately the next month.
Fordham is already dealing with a thin bench in the absence of point guard Devon (Fatty) McMillan, who has yet to return following an offseason shoulder injury, and freshman Ryan Rhoomes has been battling a sprained ankle just days after receiving word that he had been cleared by the NCAA to compete. Gaston's injury will almost certainly shift the onus onto freshman Travion Leonard to become more of a contributor up front, while swingman Luka Zivkovic will likely be pushed into greater action as well. There is also an option for Pecora to play smaller with four guards by inserting Jeff Short into the starting five alongside his backcourt trio of junior Branden Frazier, sophomore Bryan Smith and freshman Jermaine Myers, who is currently seeing starter's minutes in McMillan's absence.
Gaston reportedly experienced swelling in his knee during the three-game road trip to open the Rams' season, first at Texas State and then in Pittsburgh this week for Preseason NIT meetings with Pittsburgh and Robert Morris. Fordham continues on in the consolation round of the tournament next week, traveling to Lehigh University to face Penn on Monday night before squaring off against Fairfield on Tuesday in what will be the final game before the Rams' home opener one week from Thursday against Manhattan in the annual "Battle of the Bronx."
One of three players to average ten or more points per game in the young season, Gaston leaves the lineup with averages of 11.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, with five blocked shots and four steals over the first three contests of the year. The New Jersey native had been playing an average of 33 minutes per night.