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Foot injury sidelines Antonio Barton 4-6 weeks

Feb 11, 2013, 5:12 PM EDT

Antonio Barton AP

Memphis guard depth just took a hit.

Antonio Barton will be out 4-6 weeks with a hairline fracture in his right foot, the fifth metatarsal, to be exact, though it won’t require surgery. This is according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

X-rays and an MRI revealed soft tissue damage to the foot. The injury and diagnosis means there’s a chance Barton could return for the postseason, instead of being out for the seas as originally feared.

Barton, who is averaging 6.2 points and 1.2 rebounds this season for the 20-3 Tigers’, injured the foot in the teams 89-76 victory on the road at Southern Miss on Saturday. A good win if the Tigers want to secure the top seed in the Conference USA tournament next month. Though it seems unlikely any other team is perched to beat them.

It’s also not an injury that coach Josh Pastner is spending a ton of time grieving about. As evidence in from C-A Memphis beat writer Jason Smith.

“Antonio’s helped us win a lot of games, but the other guys are just going to have to step up,” Pastner said.

Let’s get this straight: Memphis doesn’t need Barton to win the conference. I know, that’s from the “no, duh” department. After a somewhat rough patch in the non-conference season, the Tigers have shown they are clearly the class of C-USA. It’s not even close.

However, losing Barton does mean one thing: Memphis does lose a consistent contributor off the bench. Barton has the ability to breakout — he scored 16 points against Tulsa on Feb. 2 — and they will search for a new sixth man in terms of minutes off the bench. Barton 18.7 minutes this season.

Follow David on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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