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Mississippi State forward Wendell Lewis out at least eight weeks with fractured patella

Dec 14, 2012, 5:06 PM EST

Wendell Lewis, Jamil Wilson AP

As rough as the injury news has been for Alabama over the last couple of weeks, they’ve got nothing on SEC West foe Mississippi State.

Rick Ray’s first season in Starkville has been anything but smooth thanks to injuries and more bad news hit the program this week, as senior forward Wendell Lewis suffered a fractured right patella during a non-contact drill on Wednesday.

According to the school Lewis will undergo surgery on Monday and is expected to miss at least eight weeks of action.

Lewis is averaging 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs, who take on Loyola (IL) Saturday night in Chicago and will have just six scholarship players available.

Guard Jalen Steele remains out of the lineup with a broken wrist while freshmen DeAndre Applewhite and Jacoby Davis both suffered torn ACLs before the season even began. Add in the concussion that forced Roquez Johnson to miss the season opener and what you have is a team that’s had more injuries to deal with than just about any team in the country.

Freshman forward Gavin Ware is moving into the starting lineup with Lewis injured, with Ware averaging 7.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game on the season. His best performance came in the Bulldogs’ second game at the Maui Invitational, where he tallied 11 points and six rebounds in an 89-62 loss to Marquette.

While Mississippi State will have just six scholarship players available tomorrow the Ramblers have nine players averaging at least 16 minutes per game. After Saturday’s contest the Bulldogs have home games against Central Arkansas, Alabama A&M and New Orleans before opening SEC play against South Carolina on January 8.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.