Northwestern senior center Alex Olah is out indefinitely with a foot injury, the program announced Sunday. Olah will miss the Wildcats' final non-conference game against Loyola (Md.) Sunday night.
With Olah out, freshman center Dererk Pardon will play tonight. Chris Collins had made the decision to redshirt Pardon in his first year on campus, but it appears Northwestern will burn his redshirt.
Big Ten Network reported on the halftime show during Ohio State game against South Carolina State that Northwestern expects Olah to miss two-to-three weeks.
Prior to the season, Chris Collins had the following to say about Pardon:
"He's got a huge upside. And with the way our frontline is right now — now, certainly, you're one rolled ankle away from maybe not having to redshirt — but right now the plan is to get a year of development under his belt."
The good news for Northwestern is that Joey van Zegeren, who had missed four games with a foot injury of his own, will return to the lineup Sunday against Loyola (Md.).
Olah's injury is a huge blow for Northwestern. The big Romanian had been averaging 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Without him, Northwestern will have a glaring lack of a post presence on offense. In the preseason, the expectation was that the addition of van Zegeren would help provide athletic, physical depth and a stark contrast to Olah's more finesse style of play. Now, the Wildcats will have to depend on van Zegeren, Pardon, and Gavin Skelly-- who had backed up Olah while van Zegeren missed time-- as their big men for the time being.
Northwestern opens conference play at Nebraska on Wednesday.