MCL injury to Dodd could give Cekovsky a chance to shine

By Ethan Cadeaux (@Ethan_301)

Maryland men’s basketball announced Wednesday that senior center Damonte Dodd will miss the next three games with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Coming into the season, the biggest concern for the Terps was replacing frontcourt players Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. Both players declared for the NBA Draft after last season.

Dodd stepped up in the vacated spaces on the court. He turned in perhaps his best performance of the season Saturday in the Terps’ 71-70 victory over Oklahoma State. The senior finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. He has been the Terps’ best big man thus far, averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and a team-high 2.4 blocks.

 Dodd has already missed two games this season due to a concussion he incurred in November.

All three of the Terps big men – Dodd, Michal Cekovsky, and Ivan Bender – have all missed time this season. Cekovsky missed the early part of the season with a sprained foot, an injury that occurred earlier in November. Bender has been playing with a broken wrist and has missed time with a bone bruise in his left knee as well.

The Dodd’s injury will most likely boost the playing time of Cekovsky. After missing 10 weeks with a hamstring injury in August, as well as the first two weeks with a sprained foot, Cekovsky is finally healthy and ready to contribute.

While he is still working out the kinks, the junior has made his presence felt on the floor, averaging 8.2 points and four rebounds per game. Cekovsky added muscle this offseason and has looked like a much better player this season.

The Terps’ big-man rotation lacks talent from the one a year ago, but that doesn’t mean it lacks productivity. The unit as a whole has yet to be seen. Bender, Cekovsky, and Dodd have only all been healthy for one game this season.

In the meantime, it will be Cekovsky and Bender manning the middle for the Terps. Graduate transfer L.G. Gill has played some power forward for the Terps, but is a natural perimeter player. Once the Terps return to full strength, Gill will shift back to the perimeter. Until then, he’s taking on a new role.

The Terps take on the Howard Bison Wednesday at 9 p.m. in the Xfinity Center. Maryland hosts Saint Peter’s and Jacksonville State in the two games following Howard before the team has an eight-day break. The Terps return to action on Dec. 20 against Charlotte at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.