Fazekas expected not to play against San Jose St.

Nevada's Nick Fazekas shakes hands with fans after their college basketball game with Boise State in Reno, Nev., on Monday, Jan. 8, 2007. Fazekas injured his ankle in the first half. (AP Photo/Brad Horn)

Nevada's Nick Fazekas shakes hands with fans after their college basketball game with Boise State in Reno, Nev., on Monday, Jan. 8, 2007. Fazekas injured his ankle in the first half. (AP Photo/Brad Horn)

RENO - Nevada's All-American forward Nick Fazekas suffered a severely sprained left ankle Monday night against Boise State, and is not expected to play Thursday night at San Jose State.

Fazekas, who is averaging 20.3 points and 12.1 rebounds a game, went up for a shot in the final minute of the first half against Boise State and he landed on the foot of another player.

"It's a typical basketball injury," said Fox, who obviously was happy the ankle wasn't broken. "It's not something you want to happen to your All-American forward in the middle of January. This is a re-injury from the Akron game. I don't know how bad it is. I don't think it's a high ankle sprain, no.

"I have no idea when he is going to play again. Last night he wanted to come back in and play. The cast was off and the crutches were in the tunnel. He had gotten taped up and wanted to come back in."

Fox, who hasn't yet ruled Fazekas out for Saturday's game in Hawai'i, said that he won't let Fazekas come back until trainer Shelly Germann and Dr. Jim Pappas clear him medically.

Severely sprained ankles can sometimes take up to two weeks to heal at a minimum, and that would put Fazekas out a minimum of four games.

Twice during the booster luncheon, he emphasized that Demarshay Johnson wouldn't be brought back this season, leading to speculation that Fox may not be able to bring him back because he's still not eligible academically. If Johnson were eligible, no doubt this would be the time to re-activate him because he would help the depth up front.

"Injuries are part of the game," Fox said. "You have to be able to deal with (them) and move forward.

"We play 5 on 5 everyday in practice, and Nick can't be on both teams."

Fox said he wasn't sure whether Fazekas would make the upcoming trip to San Jose State and Hawai'i.

"No decision has been made," Fox said. "A lot depends on when I see him (later Tuesday), and how he's doing; how he responds to treatment."

Fox said he would like to see Fazekas make the trip this week, especially if his treatment schedule isn't affected.

"Nick is part of our team," Fox said. "We can take him off the floor, but we don't want to take away his personality and the cohesiveness of our team, so I really don't want to leave him behind."

Without Fazekas, the Pack will have to rely more on its younger players - freshmen Matt LaGrone and JaVale McGee - plus 7-foot junior David Ellis.

"David Ellis has made big plays the last couple of games," Fox said. "David Ellis in my mind had the biggest basket of the game against Gonzaga.

"We're down six, we miss a shot and he puts it back in. He made a big play on the inbound pass (against Boise State), got fouled and completed the play. We can run our offense through David. He might not put up the numbers, but he's a piece of the puzzle. When he plays aggressively like he did against Cal, Oregon State and Gonzaga, he's been pretty effective for us."

LaGrone scored a bucket and pulled down five rebounds in a career-high 14-minute stint against Boise State. McGee was ineffective against the Broncos, but has played well in spots.

"Matt has played better," Fox said. "He rebounded the ball well. It's good to see.

"JaVale didn't play real well (against Boise), but he's had some real good games."

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