Knee injury sidelines Westermann

Partizan NIS Belgrade loses its starting point guard in Moscow.

CSKA Moscow thrashed Partizan 88-46 in their Group A Euroleague encounter in Moscow Friday, but even more hurting for the Belgraders could be the loss of their French playmaker Leo Westermann, who hobbled off the court late in the first quarter after picking up a knee injury.

Westermann got hurt as he drove past Jeremy Pargo, initiated contact and was fouled en route to the basket with 1:58 remaining in the opening period. The 21-year-old Frenchman fell to the floor, clutched his right knee and immediately signaled to his team’s bench to send the medical staff in. Moments later, his teammates helped him off the court. At the moment of Westermann’s exit Partizan trailed by 11 (8-19).

“His knee rotated as he landed and he couldn’t continue the game. We do not know anything at this moment, we would need clinical examination and an MRT to assess the condition of his knee ligaments. I hope it’s not too serious, but hopes and reality can differ,” Partizan head coach Dusko Vujosevic told reporters after the game.

In the five Euroleague games this season Westermann averaged 7 points, 2.2 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game. He returned to the floor less than two weeks ago after picking up a hip injury in an ABA League game against MZT Skopje.

Partizan’s roster was depleted by injuries that grounded two other key players in Vujosevic’s rotation – in Moscow reigning Serbian and NLB league champs couldn’t count on starting center Dejan Musli (bruised calf muscle) and the recent acquisition, U.S. swingman Tarence Quinsy (back spasms).

The loss of Westermann comes at the worst moment for Vujosevic’s squad as Partizan braces for Monday’s clash with its archrival Crvena zvezda in Round 8 of the ABA League. Partizan tops the table with a 6-1 record and Crvena zvezda is second with five wins in seven games.

On Friday, CSKA dominated from start to finish, racing to build a commanding 24-point lead by halftime. The 42-point margin is the Belgraders’ worst loss in Euroleague history.

CSKA’s comeback after back-to-back losses in Istanbul and Barcelona was powered by Sonny Weems who scored the game-high 18 points, Vitaly Fridzon (16) and Vladimir Micov (15). CSKA committed only seven turnovers against Partizan’s 23 and shot the ball with fantastic accuracy – 65.6 percent for two points and 9-of-18 from behind the arc.

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