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USA wins, WSU loses: Casto knee injury more serious than thought

Team USA wrapped up intermediate pool play in the FIBA U19 tournament by squeaking out a 76-69 win over Lithuania, but that wasn't the most pressing news coming out of New Zealand yesterday.

No, in an apparent attempt by the basketball gods to slap me back into my proper place after yesterday's headline, came the following news (thanks selahcoug and Roy Weaver Stuckey):

SPOKANE -- As first reported on KREM 2 News at ten o'clock tonight, former Ferris star and current Washington State University basketball player DeAngelo Casto needs surgery on his injured knee.

Now, before we all freak out about the dreaded s-word, here's something to keep in mind: We just don't know the extent of the injury.

Here's what we do know. USA Basketball is calling it a "torn meniscus." A quick check of meniscus injuries at WebMD reveals that there is a wide variety of severity and treatment with regards to such injuries. Here's what a torn meniscus looks like (Casto would have just one of those tears, not four):



If the KREM report is accurate -- color me skeptical about unsourced, "person close to Casto" reporting -- and the timetable is expected to be four to six weeks, then it's likely just a partial horizontal tear that can be sewn together. Clearly not the worst news possible. Still, you never want to hear the words "knee surgery" linked to your up-and-coming frontcourt star, on whom you're planning to depend heavily in the upcoming season, especially since meniscus injuries are sometimes discovered to be worse than thought once the surgery is begun.

As for Klay Thompson had his usual ho-hum line against the Lithuanians: 10 points (second on the team), 7 rebounds (second), 3 assists (second) and one steal in 22 minutes. Yup, he's still good.

The undefeated Americans now move on to the single-elimination tournament, taking on Canada in the quarterfinals early Friday morning at 1:30 a.m. No word yet on whether it's going to be televised.

The other undefeated team is none other than Australia, which had to come from behind in the second half to beat Croatia, 79-74. Brock Motum had by far his worst game of the tournament: 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 5 turnovers. But the Aussies survived nonetheless, and appear to be on a crash course with Team USA, which they would meet in the gold medal game.

I would pony up for FIBATV for that one.