Oregon, which tied a school record for most consecutive wins at 15 on Thursday night, may have taken on a Pyrrhic victory in the process.
The 11th-ranked, 17-2 Ducks cruised past Cal, 86-63, but lost star player and preseason All-American Dillon Brooks in the process. After putting 10 points to his name and looking en route to one of his stronger games of the season, Brooks suffered an injury to his lower left leg in the first half. That's all that was disclosed as of late Thursday/early Friday morning. In Oregon's postgame press conference, Ducks coach Dana Altman added just this information on Brooks' injury.
Dana Altman would not specify if Dillon Brooks' injury is left foot again: "He'll be evaluated the next couple days and see where we're at."— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) January 20, 2017
So it's a wait-and-see. This comes three days removed from Creighton losing its best player for the season, and one day removed from Indiana watching its best pro prospect go down for an undetermined amount of time. Like Oregon, Creighton and Indiana can threaten just about anyone in the country when their offense is fully healthy. Let this Brooks scare be the last one we see this season in college hoops, m'kay?
Brooks was averaging 13.6 points heading into Thursday's game. He's the guy who hit the winning shot earlier this season to give UCLA its only loss. And yes, perhaps you recognize the name because Brooks was the player involved in a 48-hour media frenzy last March, after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski lectured him after Brooks knocked Duke out of the tournament.
Without Brooks, Oregon's Final Four hopes would take a huge hit, and the Pac-12 title would seemingly be bequeathed to UCLA. But perhaps this injury won't be so severe. What's key to remember is that Brooks missed the first four games of this season after surgery on his left foot over the summer. So if it's a foot injury again -- on the same foot -- Ducks fans will be pearl-clutching. If it's a leg issue, maybe Brooks isn't sitting for a long time.
All of this, and by the way, Oregon junior forward Jordan Bell scored a career-high 26 points in the win, while sophomore Tyler Dorsey added 16. Oregon shot 58 percent from the field and won its 37th in a row at home. Only Kansas has a longer home winning streak.
If not for Brooks' injury, Oregon would basking in its longest win streak in 104 years. Instead, the team waits on the news, hoping it's good.