NORMAL — An already thin Illinois State basketball roster has taken a couple more hits.
Redbird coach Dan Muller said Tuesday that 7-foot junior David Ndiaye will miss about six weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Matt Hein suffered a bone bruise in his knee during Saturday's closed scrimmage against Saint Louis and will miss two to four weeks.
ISU already is without freshman guard Elijah Clarance, also sidelined with a stress fracture, while junior forward Christian Romine is not with the team while dealing with a personal issue.
That leaves the Redbirds with eight scholarship players for their Nov. 11 season opener at Florida Gulf Coast, plus walk-on Luke Litwiller, who has been added to the roster. ISU entertains Division II Lewis in an exhibition game at 2 p.m. Sunday at Redbird Arena.
"We'll have a very small layup line going Sunday in our exhibition game," said Muller.
Ndiaye is no stranger to stress fractures. He missed the first nine games last season with a stress fracture in his right foot. A stress fracture in his left foot cost Ndiaye all but two games of the Missouri Valley Conference season as a freshman.
"It's the same foot (as last year), but a different bone," said Muller. "The first time he mentioned it was last Thursday."
Ndiaye played in the scrimmage Saturday before an MRI on Monday revealed the stress fracture.
Without Ndiaye, ISU's frontcourt players include 6-9 junior Phil Fayne, the team's lone returning starter from last season, along with 6-8 freshman Taylor Bruninga and 6-6 junior Milik Yarbrough, who is expected to start on the wing.
"We'll try to stay out of foul trouble the best we can. We're not getting some guys back any time soon," said Muller. "Phil and Taylor are our only guys over 6-6 right now who are healthy and ready to play. Those guys will get significant minutes. It's all hands on deck, really."
Ndiaye, a native of Senegal, led the Redbirds last season with 1.6 blocks per game to go with 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 points while coming off the bench in 26 games.
Last year, Ndiaye didn't make his season debut until Dec. 22. If that's the case this season, his first game could come in the MVC opener Dec. 23 at Evansville.
"He had a very good summer and then probably a great two weeks where he was playing at a really high level," said Muller. "The biggest thing is unbelievably disappointed for him.
"We'll be careful with him, but we'll get him back as soon as we can. The good thing is he has experience with it. Last year he came back and really didn't miss a beat, which was good to see."