INDIANAPOLIS - Not 24 hours after he was helped from the court at Lucas Oil Stadium with a knee injury later diagnosed as a sprain, West Virginia senior Da'Sean Butler learned he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee and suffered two bone bruises.
"It's a shame," point guard Joe Mazzulla said. "For some reason bad things happen to great people. It's something you don't want to see happen, especially with a whole career ahead of you."
Following the Final Four game Saturday Butler said he was told it was a sprain, but he was to undergo additional tests Sunday. An MRI at St. Vincent Sports Performance revealed greater damage.
Opinions about Butler's place in the NBA varied. An in-between guy at 6-foot-7, the native of Newark, N.J., was projected as the No. 21 pick in the first round of the upcoming NBA Draft by NBADraft.net, but the 15th pick in the second round by DraftExpress.com.
With 8:59 remaining in the season-ending loss, Butler drove to the basket and said he slipped on a wet spot near the goal. He tried to use a hop-step to get past defender Brian Zoubek, but his knee buckled and he crashed into the 7-foot-1, 260-pound center.
Butler immediately grabbed his leg and shouted out in pain. Within moments he was surrounded by teammates
"I was hoping my leg didn't fall off," he said. "Right away I was worried about my knee."
Butler is friends with Purdue forward Robbie Hummel, whose season ended Feb. 24 with a torn ACL in his right knee on a strangely similar play. Butler admitted it went through his mind and he was "terrified" as he rolled on the floor while trainer Randy Meador evaluated. Coach Bob Huggins was called over from the bench.