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Wyoming regroups after Larry Nance Jr. suffers knee injury

Feb 20, 2014 - The Associated Press

You would never have guessed they won.

A few minutes after Wyoming's 72-66 victory over Fresno State on Tuesday night, Derek Cooke Jr., Nathan Sobey and Josh Adams sat at a table inside the Arena-Auditorium's interview room, eyes set firmly on their feet. Sobey glanced up briefly to answer a question -- his eyes red and watering.

Adams's gaze remained fixed on the floor, and Cooke laid his head in his hands, gritting his teeth until the 3-1/2-minute news conference, one that felt much longer, was over.

They had won, but the cost was steep.

Larry Nance Jr., the team's self-proclaimed junior leader, went down on Tuesday night, crumbling to the hardwood in a heap and grabbing at a right knee he immediately knew was injured. An MRI on Wednesday morning confirmed everyone's fears.

Nance tore his right ACL and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

This seemed to be the inevitable verdict throughout the final 14 minutes of Tuesday's game, as Nance lay on his back on a training table behind the Wyoming bench, a towel draped over his face. During timeouts, Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt walked over to check on him. So did the trainers, and a few teammates, and even Athletics Director Tom Burman.

After the game ended and the teams shook hands, Fresno State guard Tyler Johnson and forward Alex Davis took a detour to the Wyoming bench, offering their condolences to a capable adversary.

When Nance left the floor, he did so with arms around the shoulders of Sobey and trainer Lance Schuemann. Jack Bentz, another teammate and a childhood friend, followed closely behind. Nance's right leg hung limply off the ground as he made the slow trudge out of sight.

As of Tuesday night, there wasn't yet a firm verdict. But there also wasn't much hope.

"It's always an awful feeling to see one of your leaders, your teammate, one of your best friends go down," Adams said, his voice barely registering on the microphones placed in front of him.

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