Georgia Tech freshman point guard Jose Alvarado is likely out for the season after dislocating his left elbow Sunday in the Yellow Jackets’ 80-69 loss to No. 9 Duke at McCamish Pavilion.
Coach Josh Pastner said there was “probably a high probability that he’ll be finished for the season.” Alvarado suffered the injury in a hard fall taken after challenging a shot by Duke forward Javin DeLaurier. He was in considerable pain and was walked off the floor to applause from the crowd.
In a strange coincidence, the spot on the floor where Alvarado suffered the injury was only a few feet from where guard Josh Okogie dislocated his index finger in an exhibition game against Georgia State on October 28.
“First thing that came to my mind was, that happened to me (against) Georgia State,” Okogie said. “But I felt really bad for him, because I know he’s such a competitor, but that’s the thing about Jose. The guy never stops. He just keeps going. No matter what the case may be, he’s going to fight. He’s going to come back better than ever.”
Alvarado was taken to a hospital for X-rays “to ensure that the elbow is located properly and check for fractures,” according to a statement from the school.
Tech has six regular-season games remaining.
Pastner had placed the responsibility on running the team from the point guard spot on Alvarado from the first game of the season. He has struggled at times with shot selection and against pressure, but he has shown development over the course of the season. He played every minute of the previous four games, including all 45 of Tech’s overtime loss to Boston College.
“He’s a really good kid and player,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
For the season, Alvarado is averaging 12.1 points, 3.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds. He is shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 80.2 percent from the free-throw line. Prior to the game, he ranked fifth among all freshmen in Division I in percentage of minutes played.
It’ll be a challenge for Pastner to replace his minutes and floor leadership. Sunday, he used Okogie from the point for most of the remainder of the game. Okogie finished with 29 points, his season high, with four assists, one shy of his career high.
“After (the injury), I knew it was going to be on me to handle the ball,” Okogie said. “But I owed it to my teammates to be there for them and to handle the rock and make the right decisions.”
Pastner said he’ll meet with staff to determine how to adjust the lineup. Pastner mentioned point guard Justin Moore, who has not played since the Wright State game Dec. 22. Moore did not make the trip with the team to the game last Thursday at Louisville due to academic obligations.
“People might ask, ‘What about Justin?’” Pastner said. “Again, I won’t make any decisions until I get with the staff and we decide what’s best as we continue to move forward.”
Alvarado’s dislocated elbow continued a season-long series of injuries suffered by Tech players. Besides Okogie, center Ben Lammers (ankle), forward Abdoulaye Gueye (ankle) and guard Curtis Haywood (shin) have all either missed games or been limited by injuries.