The UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team took a big hit when they learned starting guard Jaylen Clark suffered a torn Achilles during their regular-season finale against Arizona on Tuesday night, according to multiple reports.
UCLA, the current No. 2 team in the NCAA, is expected to come away with the Pac-12 Championship and become a one-seed when March Madness begins next week.
While that may still be the case, they will do so without their second-leading scorer, who is averaging 13 points per game while also being arguably the best defender in college basketball.
The injury occurred after Clark showed off that defensive prowess, stripping a Wildcats player and taking the ball to the hoop for a quick two points. However, once Clark landed and began working his way back down the court, he started limping.
Clark grabbed one of his coaches on the sideline and knew right away something was very wrong. For the rest of the game – an 82-73 win over the eighth-ranked Wildcats – Clark was on the bench with a boot on his right foot and had crutches.
Clark became a full-time starter for the Bruins this season as a junior after playing in a reserve role the previous two years. Along with his point total, Clark averaged 6.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.6 steals in 30.5 minutes per game.
With Clark out, UCLA will be leaning even more on Jamie Jaquez Jr., their leading scorer who averages 17.5 points per night. He also has tallied 8.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Tyger Campbell, the team’s senior point guard, is also putting up 12.9 points per game and will likely see an expanded role in the offense.
Amari Bailey and David Singleton could see some added minutes as well.
UCLA is awaiting their opponent in the Pac-12 Tournament for Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET game as the conference’s top seed. It’s there where answers about how the Bruins move forward will be revealed.