Upon the team’s return to New York City, Branch had his knee re-examined on Monday and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday. The early diagnosis for Branch’s injury is a sprained MCL.
In his first season for the Johnnies since becoming eligible at the conclusion of the fall semester, Branch has been a bright spot for a Red Storm squad that continues its pursuit of a berth within the NCAA Tournament. On the year, Branch is averaging 8.3 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game.
The loss on Saturday snapped a five-game winning streak for the Red Storm, a stretch that had flipped the script on the season and catapulted them back within the conference mix. On Wednesday, the team will play host to Connecticut in their efforts to get back on track following the weekend loss, although it remains unclear if Branch will be able to play.
“Because we’re so young, we need to be as close to full strength as we can be,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin told ESPN New York. “We hope he’s gonna be OK. We don’t have enough information at this point from the trainers and the doctors, other than the sprained knee.”
Branch has emerged as the team’s leader on the floor during the Johnnies’ recent success, so if he is determined to be out for a specific amount of time then St. John’s will certainly miss his production.
St. John’s is 5-1 since Branch was inserted into the starting lineup by Lavin.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS