Penn State loses scarce height to injury

Despite the individual brilliance of Penn State guard Talor Battle, the Nittany Lions managed to finish last in the Big Ten -- behind rebuilding programs like Iowa and Indiana, no less -- in 2009-10. The prospectus for the 2010-11 team is not much better. And, unfortunately, it may just have gotten worse.

Penn State forward Sasa Borovnjak tore the ACL in his right knee last week, according to the Associated Press. The injury happened without any contact, according to the team.

At first glance, the upshot of the injury might not seem all that bad. Borovnjak played just 6.8 minutes and averaged a mere 1.8 points per game in his freshman season, and though he was expected to play a larger role this year, that kind of production is not exactly a game-changer.

Height, however, is. Without Borovnjak, a 6-foot-9 forward, the Nittany Lions now have just two reserves taller than 6-foot-7. In a Big Ten Conference that oftentimes favors physical, rough-and-tumble basketball, that's a major disadvantage. And was Penn State's front line wasn't all that productive in the first place. The addition of a rising sophomore could have been a major boon to Ed DeChellis' struggling team.

Instead, Penn State will be much of the same squad as in 2009-10, only a little bit shorter. Needless to say, that does not bode well.