Utah State and New Mexico State, which the WAC coaches and media have picked to finish first and second in the conference coming off NCAA tournament appearances, are both dealing with injury concerns with their veteran big men.
New Mexico State forward Wendell McKines broke his foot during practice Saturday and is out indefinitely.
McKines averaged 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds last season after he was ineligible for the first semester. He would have repeated as the conference's rebounding champ had he played enough games to qualify.
"That's a big blow for us being one of the two seniors and one of the leaders on the team both on and off the court," New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said of the team's second-leading returning scorer.
Utah State forward Nate Bendall also has a foot injury that has kept the senior out of workouts for the past two weeks and is expected to sideline him for at least another two weeks.
Bendall, the team's second-leading returning scorer and rebounder, averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds last season. He forms a formidable frontcourt with Tai Wesley, the coaches' pick for preseason player of the year.