The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have high hopes for the remainder of the 2015-16 season, but they might want to temper their expectations while star guard Demetrius Jackson recovers from an injury.
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Jackson Likely Out for Syracuse Contest
Monday, Jan. 25
Jackson was helped off the court Saturday with a hamstring injury during his team's victory over Boston College, and Tom Noie of NDInsider.com noted Monday an MRI revealed a "moderate" pull instead of a more serious tear.
Notre Dame plays Syracuse on Thursday, but head coach Mike Brey did not seem optimistic about Jackson's chances of taking the court, per Noie: “It would be a miracle to come back. I guess miracles happen, especially at Notre Dame I heard. You don’t want to bring him back too soon. We can’t count on him Thursday. We’re not going to rush it.”
After a nondescript freshman season, Jackson took a big step forward last year. He averaged 12.4 points on 50.8 percent shooting and 3.1 assists per game.
Jackson's progression has continued through his junior year, as he's posting 16.6 points and five assists a night. His presence on the roster gives fans hope that the Fighting Irish won't see a significant drop with Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton gone from last year's Elite Eight team.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity," Jackson said in August, per Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman. "I've been really focusing on my mid-range, taking better shots in the mid-range area, also my floater. And just being a better leader on the court."
Although Notre Dame has skilled guards on the roster, Jackson's injury will undoubtedly be a problem for Brey. Nobody can replace Jackson's all-around offensive game, not to mention his 1.2 steals per game this year.
Brey will likely hope Steve Vasturia, Matt Farrell or true freshman Rex Pflueger can help keep the offense going in Jackson's absence.