Huskies face California star forward Ivan Rabb on Thursday without Malik Dime, who is out 4-5 weeks due to a broken finger.
Washington center Malik Dime will miss 4-5 weeks due to a broken pinkie finger suffered in the final minutes of Saturday’s 87-61 win over Oregon State.
It’s the first serious injury for the Huskies (8-7, 1-2 Pac-12) and a potentially devastating loss as they head to the Bay Area for a pair of games against California (11-5, 2-2) on Thursday and Saturday’s contest versus Stanford (8-8, 0-4).
Dime, a 6-9 senior, is second in the Pac-12 with 39 blocks. He averages 2.6 per game. Dime also averages 4.9 rebounds, which is third among UW players, and 5.5 points.
“It’s one of those situations where he would be in too much pain,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “He could probably injure someone else because he would have to be casted to play. A regular soft splint wouldn’t protect it. If there was a way around it, we would do it. Everything was explored.”
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The Huskies are deeper on the front line than previous seasons and will turn to 6-11 freshman Sam Timmins or 6-9 junior Matthew Atewe to replace Dime. Reserve forward Devenir Duruisseau, a 6-8 sophomore, could also see his minutes increase.
Timmins has appeared in all 15 games while averaging 3.7 points and 3.4 rebounds. Atewe, the transfer from Auburn who sat out last season and missed 2014-15 due to a back injury, has played 12 games. He’s averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds.
Dime’s absence could loom large Thursday against California, which features Ivan Rabb. The 6-11 sophomore forward is considered a first-round pick in the 2017 draft if he decides to leave school.
Rabb is one of two players in the Pac-12 averaging a double double. He averages 15.4 points and 10.8 rebounds, which is first among Cal players. Rabb was named the Pac-12 player of the week on Monday after a pair of performances when he averaged 17.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 assists.
Dime is expected to return in early February.
On the play in which he injured his finger, UW star freshman Markelle Fultz tweaked his ankle and immediately left the game. Fultz said Tuesday that he’s fine and has been able to practice without any serious pain.