Western Kentucky, the preseason favorite to win Conference USA, sustained a serious blow on Monday when the program's fears of a potential season-ending injury for center Charles Bassey became official. Following a CT scan, X-ray and MRI, tests revealed Bassey will require season-ending surgery on his left leg, thus ending his sophomore season before it ever really began.

The official prognosis on the 6-foot-11, 230-pound Bassey is a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, which he sustained Saturday in the second half of WKU's overtime 86-79 win over Arkansas. Bassey caught the ball in the post and was dropping toward the hoop when his left leg appeared to hyperextend. He immediately went down in pain and did not return to the game.

WKU announced Bassey's surgery is slated for Tuesday in Houston. Team physicians from the Houston Texans and Houston Rockets will perform the procedure. His estimated recovery time is expected to take between six-to-nine months.

Bassey's injury is a huge hit for the Hilltoppers and their hopes of winning the conference this season, but also for his NBA prospects. A former five-star recruit, Bassey tested the NBA Draft process in 2019 before ultimately opting to return for a sophomore season in hopes of improving his draft stock. CBS Sports projected him as a second-round pick before he withdrew his name from the draft and returned to Western Kentucky.

Improving his draft stock appeared to be something Bassey took seriously. As a sophomore this season, he was averaging more points, rebounds, assists and steals per 40 minutes than his standout freshman season, all while cutting down his turnovers and playing fewer minutes. In eight games, he averaged 15.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.6 blocks per game, leading WKU to a 7-3 start to its season -- its best since Rick Stansbury took over the program. Without Bassey, expect 6-11 center Matt Horton and versatile forward Carson Williams to try and account for his lost production as he misses the rest of the season rehabbing from injury.