Things got a lot tougher for the Delsea Regional High School boys’ basketball team on Tuesday.
The Crusaders (4-7) learned they will be without reigning Daily Journal Player of the Year Cedric Elleby indefinitely after a doctor visit revealed the senior forward has a fractured left ankle.
Elleby, who entered this week leading Delsea with 20.3 points and 13.4 rebounds per game, injured his ankle while blocking a shot during a 52-39 loss to Shawnee on Saturday. Elleby said he sustained the injury after landing awkwardly on his opponent’s foot.
“It hurts a lot to be out, but I can’t do anything about it now,” Elleby said after watching Delsea fall to Schalick, 81-76, on Tuesday. “All I can do is be a cheerleader for now.
While Elleby was able to take a lighthearted approach to the situation, it remains unclear if or when the senior will be able to return this year. Elleby said he is scheduled to have his cast removed Feb. 5 and added, “I’ll be back for the playoffs, I can promise that.”
Crusaders coach Tom Freeman isn’t so sure and said “the hope is to have him back by the postseason.”
“What can you say about the kid, he plays harder than anyone in South Jersey,” Freeman said. “I’m sad for him because this means so much to him. We don’t know when we’ll get him back or if we’ll get him back, but for the other kids, it gives them a chance to show what they have and gives us a little glimpse into the future.”
Delsea’s players understand it is impossible to replace a player with Elleby’s production, although the group is prepared to try its best.
“It’s a big loss, but other guys need to step up,” Delsea junior guard Ronnie Russell said. “People get hurt, that’s what happens.
“At the same time, losing Cedric is not easy. He gives us like 20 points and 14 rebounds a game. For now, we have to find a way to spread that out amongst the rest of us.”