Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino said after Wednesday's loss at Penn State that he isn't expecting guard Gabe Kalscheur back soon from a broken finger this season.
Kalscheur, a junior starter averaging 9.2 points per game, broke the finger on his right shooting hand in practice Feb. 16 and has been out for the last four games.
Pitino wasn't optimistic Wednesday about Kalscheur's recovery when talking about his team's laundry list of injuries, including Liam Robbins (ankle), Brandon Johnson (ankle) and Both Gach (foot). Robbins, the Big Ten's top shot blocker, has missed the last three games.
"Who knows maybe Liam can come back," Pitino said. "I don't think Gabe will. But those are significant injuries."
The Gophers (13-13, 6-13 in the Big Ten), who finish the regular season Saturday vs. Rutgers at home, are currently the 12th seed in the Big Ten tournament that opens March 10 in Indianapolis.
Kalscheur's timeline to return was 3-4 weeks after having surgery to repair the fracture Feb. 19, which could be during a Big Ten tournament run next week.
"I know if it was up to him, he would be [back]," Pitino said Tuesday. "He's doing sprints up and down on the side. He's a machine. Like anything, it would surprise you guys how little I get involved in all that. I don't want them ever feeling like I'm rushing them back. I want them to feel 100% comfortable ... I think there's a chance. I do, but I don't want him writhing in pain."
Replacing Kalscheur in the starting lineup has been freshman Jamal Mashburn Jr., who had his streak of five straight double-figure scoring games snapped Wednesday. Mashburn scored just two points on 1-for-9 shooting in 28 minutes vs. Penn State.
Sophomore Tre' Williams, who had a career-high 17 points, and Mashburn have been relied on to complement leading scorer and point guard Marcus Carr offensively. But replacing Kalscheur's defensive presence in the backcourt has been a challenge.
Kalscheur and Robbins had company on the bench for most of Wednesday's game with starting forward Johnson limited to only nine minutes.
"Two days ago, he sprained his ankle at the end of practice," Pitino said. "He's clearly hurting."