Rotnei Clarke Injury: Updates on Butler Star's Head

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2013

A terrible moment occurred when senior Butler guard Rotnei Clarke crashed head-first into the padding on the structure holding up the hoop. He fell to the floor and left on a stretcher. 


UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 25, at 5:06 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

Just one day after Clarke was cleared to return for full-contact practice, more good news springs for the Butler star. According to the Indianapolis Star's David Woods, the senior guard will be back in the lineup when the Bulldogs play Temple on Saturday evening:

Butler's leading scorer, Clarke's return could not come at a better time. The Bulldogs suffered a frustrating loss to La Salle in their last game and will need his scoring prowess against a dangerous Temple squad.

---End of update--- 


UPDATE: Thursday, January 24, at 6:00 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

Good news for Bulldogs fans; Nicole Auerbach of USA Today reports that leading scorer Rotnei Clarke could be back as soon as Saturday: 


Butler, in statement, says that Rotnei Clarke has been cleared for full contact. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play Sat. vs. Temple.

— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) January 24, 2013

Butler has hardly struggled in Clarke's absence, having won two of three since he was knocked out against Dayton, including a fantastic win over 8th-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday. But, as their lone loss, against an unranked LaSalle team proved, they could really use his scoring touch back sooner rather than later. Ultimately, after the scary hit, we're just glad to see the senior guard back on the floor, and the Bulldogs will certainly welcome his scoring touch back into the fold. 

---End Update---

UPDATE: Sunday, Jan. 20, at 12:20 p.m. ET by Adam Wells

Butler had one of the most memorable wins of the season on Saturday night, at home against Gonzaga, and it appears that things keep looking up for Clarke to return to the court.

Clarke told Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports that he is aiming to return for next Saturday's game against Temple. 

The doctors said I needed to be symptom-free for a week. And I didn't have any symptoms for the first time on Thursday.

The Bulldogs have been able to win 13-straight games. Clarke is one of the best pure shooters in the country, especially from three-point range. He is shooting 44 percent behind the arc. 

---End of update---


UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 14, at 9:40 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney

Clarke is improving quickly, but he won't be able to appear in the Bulldogs' two games this week.

The news comes from USA TODAY Sports' Nicole Auerbach:

Butler announces Rotnei Clarke to miss next two games (Richmond and Gonzaga).

— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) January 15, 2013

After such a scary injury, it's important that the senior make a full recovery before returning to the court. But you can bet that Clarke, who is a ferocious competitor, will be itching to come back, especially during Saturday's massive battle with No. 8 Gonzaga. 

---End of update---


UPDATE: Sunday, Jan. 13, at 5:50 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

Rotnei Clarke is progressing quickly after suffering a scary neck injury. quoted Bulldogs head athletic Trainer Ryan Galloy saying:

The MRI confirmed the presence of a significant neck sprain. His spinal cord and cervical discs were viewed  normal. Right now, he's sore and stiff, but he's out of the collar. The next question is when he can resume contact.

The report notes that there is no set date for Clarke's return, but all the news regarding Butler's leading scorer has been positive thus far. 

---End of update---


UPDATE: Sunday, Jan. 13, at 3 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

We now have even more good news coming from Butler, as it's possible Clarke could return this week. From Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated:

Brad Stevens just sent another update on Clark: Better this morning, back earlier than projected. Doubtful but not impossible back this week

— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 13, 2013

---End of update---


UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 12, at 5:15 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello brings us more positive news on Clarke. 

RT @goodmancbs: Rotnei Clarke with no fracture and is being released from the hospital right now, Butler spokesman told CBSSports.

— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) January 12, 2013

---End of update---


UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 12, at 5:05 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

Fox Sports' Zac Jackson tweeted out some promising news on Clarke's injury: 

Initial word on Butler's Rotnei Clarke: Sprained neck, no fractures, no spinal cord damage. He remains hospitalized.

— Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) January 12, 2013

---End of update---

UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 12, at 3:35 p.m. ET by Ethan Grant

More news has emerged from the horrifying scene following Clarke's spill on the court.

WISH TV had the latest on his status after he was taken out of the gym on a stretcher to a local hospital for further testing:

Clarke was experiencing numbness in his hands, but was able to move them and give a “thumbs up” sign. He was taken to the hospital for a CT scan and x-rays, standard procedure for the symptoms Clarke is experiencing.

Great news for both Clarke and the Bulldogs, especially when an injury of this nature occurs. It sounds like he's going to recover, but we'll continue to monitor his status as more news leaks about the extent of his injury.

---End of update---


Butler basketball tweeted out this update: 

The intentional foul was called on Derenbecker.They are bringing a stretcher out on the floor for Clarke.BU team doctors are on scene.

Butler Basketball (@ButlerMBB) January 12, 2013

Any time a player leaves on a stretcher, it provides anxious minutes for all those watching. However, oftentimes this is done as purely a precautionary measure when handling any sort of neck injury. 

Unfortunately, this sounded like much more than a precautionary measure. San Fran Prep's Matthew Snyder offers up more: 

Rotnei Clarke overheard on camera after crashing head-first into padding under the hoop: "I can't move." Terrifying.

— Matthew Snyder (@schnides14) January 12, 2013

That is a worst-case scenario right there. Hopefully, this young man quickly regains his movement. However, as we've learned with neck injuries, there is the possibility that that will never happen. 

For the sake of this young man, I feel safe in saying we all hope he makes a full recovery. This is obviously the most pressing concern here, and it makes any others take a back seat. That said, there is still the reality that this injury will weaken Butler's team. 

At 17.0 points per game, Clarke is the team's leading scorer by over five points a game. His scoring will not be easily replaced. 

Making matters worse for Butler is the fact that Clarke is second on the team in assists. Also, the Bulldogs' next two leading scorers play on the inside. This means they largely rely on assists to get good looks. Butler is now going to be hard-pressed to find backcourt scoring options. 

The team's fourth-leading scorer is freshman guard Kellen Dunham. He checks in with 10.7 points per game. Somehow, Dunham is going to have to pick up his scoring, or this Bulldogs (13-2) team that is 77th in the nation in scoring will be at a severe disadvantage.