The Wildcats will be without senior Reggie Hearn and freshman Sanjay Lumpkin when they host No. 2 Michigan in their Big Ten opener on Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Hearn did some light running Wednesday but still hasn't practiced since twisting his ankle in a loss to Stanford on Dec. 21. Lumpkin injured his wrist during practice. The severity of Lumpkin's injury was not known as of Wednesday afternoon.
Coach Bill Carmody said he would know more after Lumpkin was examined by doctors later in the day.
Lumpkin has played 26 minutes in four games this season after recovering from mononucleosis. If his wrist injury is season-ending, he will likely be redshirted.
Northwestern (9-4) had trouble scoring earlier this season when Carmody's entire roster was healthy. With Drew Crawford out after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, and Hearn sidelined, Carmody is now without his top two scorers.
"Where are we going to get the scoring from?" Carmody asked. "Three weeks ago,
we had Drew and Reggie and they gave me 30 a game. Who are you going to get it
The schedule is no help. NU will play five of its first seven games against teams currently ranked in the top 11 of the Associated Press poll.
Carmody will need everything he can get from sophomore point guard Dave Sobolewski, backup guard Alex Marcotullio and transfer forward Jared Swopshire until Hearn returns.
They will also need major contributions from freshmen and/or redshirt freshman forced to log major minutes instead of playing bit parts during their first Big Ten season.
"Coach Carmody has had a lot of success with freshmen in his system and
it's one of those years where we're going to have to have freshmen step in and
do the best they can and play with confidence and run the stuff they run," Sobolewski said.