Miami center Reggie Johnson realized his NCAA tournament dream but will miss his team's Sweet 16 game against Marquette with a knee injury.(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Center Reggie Johnson will not play for Miami in the Hurricanes' Sweet 16 game against Marquette Thursday night, according to Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald.
Two teammates confirmed the Hurricanes' center is out with a knee injury.
"We're all just going to have to step up," sixth-year senior forward Julian Gamble to the Herald. "Hopefully we get him back for the Final Four."
UM coach Jim Larranaga didn't discuss the injury before the news began to spread as the team was boarding a bus for the airport. By the time reporters began asking questions, Larranaga was already on the bus. A UM spokesman declined comment.
Miami spokeswoman Amy Woodrum later addressed Johnson's status through a release:
"Reggie Johnson did not travel to the Sweet 16 in Washington, D.C., with the men's basketball team after sustaining a lower extremity injury against Illinois. His timetable for returning to the court is uncertain."
Johnson, who started the season strong but contributed little to the Hurricanes' stretch run to the ACC title and No. 2 seed in the East region bracket, recently told the Herald that he cried upon realizing his dream of playing in the NCAA tournament.
“My first time stepping on the floor, it almost made me cry,” Johnson said. “I’ve always watched the [NCAA Tournament] games. I finally got to play in one.”
He had 10 rebounds and seven points against Pacific in the Hurricanes' second-round victory. Larranaga also praised Johnson for his skill at setting picks for Miami shooters.
The Hurricanes still have Julian Gamble who played well as the team's top big man while Johnson struggled with a thumb injury.