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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 29 2013

Bison guard Alexander faces potential Achilles' tear

FARGO – The first game is still about five months away, but North Dakota State already may be facing its first men’s basketball obstacle. Starting point guard Lawrence Alexander suffered a possible torn Achilles’ tendon, but what was expected to be a final determination on Wednesday turned into another appointment for an MRI today.

At the least, it’s a sliver of hope the injury is not as bad as first feared, said head coach Saul Phillips. If torn, the hope is to get the junior back somewhere around December.

“It hurts me personally because I like coaching him, but as a team we have to rally,” Phillips said.

Alexander has been a rock in his two years at NDSU. He started all 31 games two years ago as a freshman, averaging a team-high 34.3 minutes a game. Last year, he started all 34 games, averaging 34.2 minutes.

The fact a player so durable suffered an injury made it more of a shock, Phillips said.

“He never missed a minute,” he said. “He was always healthy, and he just goes. He was my security blanket.”

Phillips said sophomore Joel Lindberg, who missed all of last season with an injury to the patellar tendon in his knee, will most likely get the first shot to replace Alexander if he is sidelined for an extended period of time. Lindberg was considered a frontrunner for the job before Alexander came on the scene.

Lindberg is back working out, although he has yet to run for an extended period of time. He played in 28 games as a freshman in 2011-12, averaging almost 16 minutes a game.

Alexander was hurt doing non-contact running drills. The last time NDSU had something similar happen was with guard Freddy Coleman, who was lost for the 2009-10 season.

“Both of them occurred when they were just running,” Phillips said. “You’re dealing with a high-level athlete here, and sometimes things just happen.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia