A dislocated kneecap and a sprained shoulder hardly seem like reasons for celebration.
But a lot of people around Creighton were smiling Wednesday following news that medical tests on Grant Gibbs and Doug McDermott indicated the injuries suffered in Tuesday night’s win over DePaul weren’t as serious as first feared.
Gibbs, the Bluejays’ sixth-year senior guard, dislocated his right kneecap during a battle for a first-half rebound in the 81-62 win. He could miss at least four weeks, but it wasn’t the career-ender Gibbs feared before undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging test.
“I’m relieved that it’s not an ACL or an MCL,” Gibbs said, “because there is nothing I could do about that.”
McDermott, the Bluejays’ two-time All-American, also received relatively good news: The injury he sustained late in the first half was a sprain of the acromioclavicular joint, or AC joint, in his left shoulder. He expects to play Sunday against Xavier after getting a couple of days off practice.
“It’s nothing serious,” McDermott said. “It’s not like I broke my collarbone. Guys play with it, and I’ll be good to go.”
Creighton coach Greg McDermott called the two diagnoses “as good as we could have hoped for.” Even though his son played the second half of the DePaul game, Greg McDermott left the arena uncertain of the severity of the injury.
His mind kept replaying the reaction he saw after Doug scored on a layup on the final play of the first half.
“He got the ball up and immediately went like this,” said Greg McDermott, grabbing his shoulder and wincing. “Usually, when you see that, it’s something serious, so I really didn’t know what to expect when he went in for the test this morning.”
The coach knew Gibbs’ injury was potentially career-ending.
“At first, I just assumed that it was one of his other body parts that was already hurt,” McDermott said. “When I heard him screaming when I got out there, I knew it was a little more severe.”
Gibbs’ medical file is already fat: He’s endured injuries to his knees, back and shoulders at Gonzaga and Creighton. In high school, Gibbs was told he’d miss four weeks with a wrist injury. He returned to action in two.
He’s hoping for a similar speedy recovery from his most recent injury.
“I just need to go to work on what I need to do and hopefully get back before expected,” Gibbs said. “We have to get the swelling out before we can start to do the rehab work.
“I’ve played through a lot of injuries, so I hope this won’t be any different.”
Junior Avery Dingman will replace Gibbs in the starting lineup. Dingman is coming off his best game of the season in scoring 16 points against DePaul.
Creighton was midway through practice Wednesday when Greg McDermott learned the preliminary results of Gibbs’ MRI. The coach gathered the team around him and read a text that he had received about the diagnosis.
A few players clapped, a couple cheered. Afterward, McDermott sought out Dingman, put his arm around the player’s shoulder and had a brief chat.
“Avery has been in the program a long time, and had Grant not gotten the sixth year, it would be Avery that is out there seeing a lot of the minutes,” Greg McDermott said. “He’s prepared himself for this opportunity.”
Dingman, a 6-foot-6 wing, is averaging 3.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. Gibbs had been averaging 6.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists, but his contributions transcend his statistics.
“You hate to see him go down because he’s meant a great deal to this program,” McDermott said. “We certainly wouldn’t be where we’re at without him.”
Wednesday’s diagnosis means the Bluejays will likely get Gibbs back for the final month of the regular season. The thought that he had perhaps played his final game kept Gibbs awake most of Tuesday night.
“I knew I had hurt it pretty bad with what the doctors initially had told me,” he said. “This is probably the best news that it could have been, given what I had heard initially.”
Doug McDermott also was relieved when he learned of his diagnosis Wednesday morning.
“Since I was able to play the second half, I didn’t think it was too serious,” he said. “But I’ve never really had an injury on my shoulder, so I didn’t know how to react.”
McDermott’s injury impacts the joint on the top of the shoulder. The AC joint acts as a pivot point and allows a person to lift his arm above his shoulder.
The All-American said he might have originally sustained the injury in Saturday’s win at Seton Hall and aggravated it when he drew contact while working for position in the lane late in the first half of Tuesday’s game.
“The way I play, I like to lower my shoulder and bang around in there,” McDermott said. “I’m still going to play my game.”
He was asked if he thought Creighton’s new conference already might be contributing to some wear and tear on him and his teammates.
“The Big East is definitely physical, but I think the Missouri Valley was just as physical,” he said. “ It just happens we have a couple of banged up guys right now. Guys are much more athletic, but physicality-wise, I think it’s comparable to the Valley.”
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Video: Creighton forward Doug McDermott speaks to the media Wednesday:
Video: Creighton guard Grant Gibbs discusses knee injury:
Video: Creighton coach Greg McDermott discusses injuries: