Wyoming sophomore guard Hunter Maldonado will be sidelined for the next 4-to-6 weeks after he was injured in a game versus Denver Dec. 11 in Laramie.

Maldonado has been in and out of the Cowboys’ lineup during the season with back spasms. He was undercut by a defender while going up for an offensive rebound against the Pioneers. Maldonado came down hard on his back and laid on the court for approximately 10 minutes. He was eventually taken off in a wheelchair.

Head coach Allen Edwards told the media the news Tuesday afternoon ahead of Wyoming’s next action, which will be Friday and Saturday at the Sun Bowl Invitational in El Paso, TX.

“It was not his back. It was a new injury. My conversation with Maldo was just getting back to 100 percent. I think we were kind of playing with fire there a little bit, anyways, getting him out there not being 100 percent. Before the Denver game, it was probably the best he had felt. Then, this happened to him.”

Edwards said this new injury deals with the sciatic nerve, which is the large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg.

“More about getting him back 100 percent. He’s still under that 10-game deal, to where he could possibly get a medical (redshirt), but he’s a tough kid that wants to play, obviously, but at the end of the day, you still have to consider (his) health.”

Edwards admitted it still has to do with his back, but it’s not the same injury as before.

Maldonado is on crutches and will not make the trip to El Paso.

Edwards did say senior Jordan Naughton will be back in a limited role this weekend.

“Probably will try to get him about 10 minutes a game.”

He also referenced being even more structure on offense.

“As we work Naughton back in, getting it inside to Naughton and (Hunter) Thompson. That allows JJ (Justin James) to have some rest for not trying to score or make plays, and then utilizing Jake’s (Hendricks) ability to shoot it.”

The Pokes play East Tennessee State Friday at 5 p.m., Mountain Time.

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