UNLV BASKETBALL:

Carlos Lopez out indefinitely with severely sprained right ankle

Expect Chace Stanback, Karam Mashour to get opportunities to pick up Lopez’s minutes at power forward

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Carlos Lopez reacts in the closing minute of their game against San Diego State Saturday, February 12, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center. San Diego State won 63-57.

UNLV vs. Washburn

UNLV guard Kendall Wallace fouls Washburn guard William McNeill as he dives for the ball during their exhibition game Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011. UNLV won the game 58-50. Launch slideshow »

UNLV basketball team off and running

KSNV reports on UNLV Runnin' Rebels' exhibition game, Nov. 1, 2011.

Following an ugly 58-50 victory over Washburn in Tuesday's exhibition at the Thomas & Mack Center, UNLV was left with plenty to clean up and correct before next Friday's start of the regular season against Grand Canyon.

Now, the Rebels will be doing so short-handed.

Sophomore forward Carlos Lopez, who scored all 11 of his points Tuesday in a strong second half showing, came down on a teammate's foot during Wednesday's late-afternoon practice. The result was what first-year coach Dave Rice said is a severely sprained right ankle.

X-rays taken to determine if there were any broken bones or damaged ligaments in the ankle came back negative, but at the moment, there is no timetable for Lopez's return.

"He will be out for a significant amount of time," Rice said. "It certainly hurts our depth with the fact that Reggie (Smith) is not eligible to play until December, so it's a tough deal. We're just hoping to get him back as soon as we can."

The best-case scenario for UNLV would be Lopez being able to return in time for the team's one-month gauntlet that begins in late November. That stretch will include games against Southern Cal, UC Santa Barbara, Wichita State, Wisconsin, UTEP, Illinois, Cal and possibly a meeting with top-ranked North Carolina.

The timing of the injury is somewhat wrenching for Rice and his staff, who were incredibly encouraged by what Lopez showed on Tuesday night while getting some time at power forward.

With Lopez out, the rotation will have to be reconfigured a tad.

Mike Moser — the team's starting power forward entering the season — played 32 minutes on Tuesday, and will likely need to play minutes like that for a while moving forward.

Behind him, senior Chace Stanback, who this season is moving back to his natural spot at small forward after playing power forward in his first two years at UNLV, will flex over and pick up some of Lopez's minutes. Stanback, UNLV's top returning scorer and rebounder who was a preseason All-Mountain West selection, will return from a two-game suspension stemming from his offseason DUI arrest in time for the Dec. 14 home contest against rival UNR.

Also seeing some time at power forward in Lopez's absence will be sophomore Karam Mashour, who is looking for somewhere to fit in Rice's rotation. Mashour recently began working some with the big men in practices, his athleticism will compensate for a lack in size compared to traditional post players and this could be a chance for him to potentially find a niche.

As for senior Brice Massamba and junior Quintrell Thomas, Rice said that they will continue to rotate solely at center.

The tinkering with the rotation begins this Saturday, when UNLV will host Loyola Marymount in a 40-minute scrimmage that is closed to both the public and the media, per NCAA rules. Rice confirmed that Stanback can and will play against the Lions.

For stats and a recap of the scrimmage, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels over the weekend.

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  1. Tough break for Lopez. I liked Rice's idea to play him at power forward instead of center and I thought this was going to be a breakout year for him. However, I do believe Karam has the ability to fill in for him. While he's not flashy, Karam has always seemed consistent in the small amount of minutes we've seen him play.

  2. That is really hard to hear about Carlos. Hope that he is a quick healer. we are really going to miss his energy and hustle, not to mention his inside passing. Heal quickly Carlos!

  3. I really feel for Lopez, especially considering how good he looked at the exhibition game. You can tell he really enjoys his time on the floor and the fans enjoy him too. When I was at the game, the crowd was bored and getting a little nervous that we might not win toward the end. Marshall dished him two passes in a row for slam dunks and the atmosphere completely changed.

    He may not be the best player, but he's fun to watch. Get well soon! As fans, we'll be ready to welcome you back!

    As for Mashour, from what I've seen in his limited minutes, I think he might surprise us. We know he can hit the three and I've seen him crash the basket. His defense still needs some work, but maybe some extra time in the games will help speed that along. I'm looking forward to seeing just how deep our bench really is.

    Go Rebels!

  4. Hopefully Mashour will take this opportunity to seize some minutes and get comfortable on the court. From watching the warmups he appears to have a decent shot, but seems a little overly excited during the brief minutes we've seen him. I'd much rather see Chace stay at the 3

  5. Hang in there Carlos. One of my favorites going down and I cringe at the word "indefinitely", don't like seeing that. I guess the bright side is it is early, as opposed to being injured right before the Madness. Rest up kid, see you in December.

  6. THIS JUST IN CARTER TO COMMIT TO DUCKS