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Rotnei Clarke to miss next two games

Jan 14, 2013, 10:09 PM EDT

Rotnei Clarke, Ronald Roberts, Jr. AP

So much for Rotnei Clarke being taken to “another county” to miss Saturday’s game.

Butler announced Monday night that the Bulldogs’ leading scorer will miss the next two games with a sprained neck. He was taken off on a stretcher after crashing head-first in the basket support in a victory over Dayton on Saturday.

This comes on the heels of an earlier story that Conley Clarke, Rotnei’s father, said in order for Rotnei not to play Saturday against no. 9 Gonzaga “they going to have to take him to another county.”

This means Clarke, a fifth-year senior who is averaging 16.3 points per game, will miss Wednesday’s game against Richmond, the team’s Atlantic 10 Conference home opener, and Saturday’s game with the Zags, also at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

“Rotnei saw a spine specialist today and based on that visit and his previous examinations, we felt it was in his best interest to hold him out this week,” said Butler Head Athletic Trainer Ryan Galloy said in the release.  “He is making progress and we will continue to evaluate him.”

The release also states that Clarke “has not been cleared for full physical contact in practice and continues to be evaluated by Butler’s medical team.”

Well, credit to Butler for making this easier on the media-types. We love transparent and we love quick.

As far as the match-up, this is a huge blow in a game that could be a potential tournament resume sealer. A win against the Zags, paired with even a decent A-10 record, would make them a pretty solid bet to get an at-large bid to the Dance.

This means that Gonzaga doesn’t have to worry as much about the three, but it also is one less guard for Kevin Pangos to beat one-on-one. I said in an earlier post I wasn’t sure that Clarke could guard him, anyway. But the threat of Clarke was always somewhat of an x-factor. Now it’s going to be up to guys like Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham to pick up the slack.

It’ll also be worth watching to see if Butler gets Chase Stigall back into the mix. He’s been basically non-existent for about a month. Maybe this forces him into extended action.

David Harten is the editor and founder of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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