Temple will be without leading scorer Khalif Battle for the remainder of the season, the team announced Thursday.
The sophomore guard fractured the fifth metatarsal of his left foot in the Owls’ 73-57 win over La Salle Wednesday evening. He will undergo surgery next week and is expected to make a full recovery.
“I feel really bad for KB as he worked so hard in the offseason and was playing like one of the top guards in the country,” coach Aaron McKie said. “He is a fighter and will be back to full strength next season. Now it is next man up mentality for our program and I know our players will be ready.”
Battle was injured with 12 minutes remaining in Wednesday’s game as he crossed from left to right and drove into the lane. As he picked up his dribble, Battle planted his left foot and caught the shoe of Explorers guard Josh Nickelberry. Grimacing in pain, Battle dropped the ball and fell to the floor.
Battle returned for one play following a timeout. He limped his way around a double screen from the corner, hesitated to make a backdoor cut, and motioned to the coaching staff to sub him.
Through seven games, the sophomore guard is averaging 21.4 points per game, good for first in the American Athletic Conference. He’s also leading the Owls in minutes (31.9), field goal percentage (53.8%), three-point percentage (48.8%), and free throws made (29).
Guards Tai Strickland, Jahlil White, Zach Hicks, and Hysier Miller could see an uptick in minutes in Battle’s absence.
Temple’s first game without him is slated for 4 p.m. Saturday when the Owls host Penn.