Montavious Murphy answers questions

Kansas State freshman forward Montavious Murphy (23) answers questions during the basketball team’s media day at the Ice Family Basketball Center in October. Murphy sat out Saturday's loss to Texas after injuring his knee in a setback at Texas Tech earlier this week.

Kansas State missed a piece of its starting lineup during Saturday’s 70-59 home loss to Texas.

Freshman forward Montavious Murphy, who had started 16 games this season — including eight consecutive — “tweaked his knee” in Wednesday’s road defeat against Texas Tech.

After Saturday’s loss, K-State head coach Bruce Weber said it wasn’t an “end-of-the-season” ailment. He just isn’t sure exactly when Murphy might return.

“He’s in pain,” Weber said. “And I think more than anything, he’s scared.”

That’s because this isn’t the first time Murphy has suffered a knee injury this season. The knee he injured Wednesday is the same one that caused him to miss seven straight games after appearing in the lineup for the Wildcats’ first three contests of the season. Weber is thankful the injury isn’t “as severe as the first time.”

But it didn’t make Murphy, or the team’s doctors and training staff, comfortable enough to put him on the floor versus the Longhorns.

“He was in quite a bit of pain,” Weber said. “He tried to shoot around today.”

Fellow freshman Antonio Gordon replaced Murphy in the Wildcats’ starting five, finishing with just one point (on a free throw) and going 0-for-3 from the field. Though Gordon grabbed nine rebounds — second best among all players Saturday, trailing only senior teammate Makol Mawien, who had 10 — he also committed four turnovers, which tied for the game high.

“I thought Antonio played his butt off,” Weber said. “He’s just got to be a little sharper taking care of the ball.”

Murphy is averaging 25.1 minutes, 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season. He’s recorded three outings of 10-plus points, with a high of 11 against Texas Tech last month. He’s also led the Wildcats in rebounding three times.

Not having him available, Weber said, makes things even tougher on a team in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.

“Obviously,” Weber said, “(Murphy’s injury) doesn’t help.”

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