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Syracuse basketball: What can Orange do if Bourama Sidibe is out?

Bourama Sidibe suffered a left leg injury against Bryant and did not return.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 03 Syracuse at Boston College Photo by Mark Box/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As if starting off Friday’s game against Bryant missing shots and giving up open 3s wasn’t bad enough, things only got worse for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team when senior center Bourama Sidibe injured his left leg four minutes into the season. He exited with 2 points and 1 rebound and did not return. For the remainder of the game, Jim Boeheim elected to run Marek Dolezaj, and some limited time to Frank Anselem and Jesse Edwards, at the five.

If Sidibe’s injury sidelines him for extended time, the Orange will be in a tough predicament. He’s undergone an MRI and Syracuse expects to have an update on Monday.

Against Bryant, Boeheim elected to play Dolezaj at center as Anselem and Edwards logged only four minutes and one minute, respectively. Against a smaller team and Bryant’s zone, Boeheim decided to run mostly Dolezaj at center.

NCAA Basketball: Bryant at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

“We had to have the guy in the middle make plays the way they guard us. They were in matchup [zone] and then they went man,” Boeheim said. “Marek is the only guy on our team that’s really good in the middle of that zone on offense. That was the main reason we played him.

“Robert [Braswell] can go in there. I wanted to go with Robert. But because Marek had to play the center and Quincy [Guerrier] and Alan [Griffin] were playing well, doing what we needed them to do, I couldn’t get Robert back in there. Robert can’t play center.”

If Syracuse is forced to go forward without Sidibe for extended time, Boeheim suggested he’d go with Dolezaj at center as that’s Syracuse’s best lineup. When asked what he needed to see from Anselem or Edwards he replied, “Anything.”

“The guys here that are ready to play are going to play,” Boeheim said. “And the other guys are going to watch until I think they’re ready to help us.

“I’ve been doing this for 45 years. I think I know who should be in the game and who shouldn’t. With Bourama going down right now, if he can’t play Marek’s starting at center, Quincy is at forward, Alan is at the other forward. That’s our best team.”

Dolezaj finished his day against Bryant with 20 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals in 37 minutes. After the game, he said he would play wherever the team needs him, but that they’re hopeful to get Sidibe back.

“I think they are ready. They really work hard. Frank is a really good player but I think the 12 days [off] for a freshman really hurt him with no practices. Jesse, you know, he gained some weight but he still needs some time,” Dolezaj said post-game. “We hope Bourama still can play.”

To reiterate, we don’t know the severity of Sidibe’s injury or how long he’ll be sidelined at this time. We’re expected to have an update on Sidibe’s injury on Monday.