Gonzaga freshman Jalen Suggs, the assists leader for the No. 1 Bulldogs and the highest-rated recruit in the program’s history, went down with an ankle injury Wednesday night in the Zags’ 87-82 victory vs. No. 11 West Virginia. He got up gingerly while in obvious pain and had to be helped off the court, but was seen testing the ankle in the tunnel after being evaluated and was able to return in the second half.
The injury occurred in the first half against the Mountaineers as he was attacking the rim and delivering a pass into the post. It appears the injury caused him to lose his balance and drop, and he immediately grabbed at the back of his left ankle in pain. He showed a noticeable limp upon his return to the game, but it seems the trainers cleared him to return to action.
Suggs committed and signed with Gonzaga with five-star credentials and an NBA pedigree to boot. He’s a projected top-10 pick in next year’s draft according to Gary Parrish’s most recent mock draft, and his hot start to the season has caught the eye of talent evaluators dreaming about his fit in an NBA system because of his creation abilities with the ball in his hands.
The Bulldogs still have a fabulous roster had Suggs been forced to miss any game action, but not having him on the floor for any amount of time would be an obvious downgrade to their national title hopes. As the Zags played the remainder of the first half without him, Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard was able to shoulder a larger role on the ball as a creator for Gonzaga’s offense, which ranks No. 1 nationally in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency through two games.With Suggs back in the lineup he should immediate resume his role as the team’s top creator.
Suggs finished with four points and six rebounds in 26 minutes. Joel Ayayi matched his career high with 21 points and Nembhard and Corey Kispert each scored 19 points as Gonzaga improved to 3-0 with a showdown against No. 2 Baylor set for Saturday.