Villanova is headed to the Final Four of the men's NCAA tournament.
But it won't have All-Big East guard Justin Moore in the lineup. Moore fell to the floor with a non-contact leg injury late in Saturday's Elite Eight win over Houston. On Sunday, he was diagnosed with a torn Achilles tendon. Villanova announced that he's scheduled for surgery this week and will be indefinitely sidelined.
"This is a tough blow for all of us, not just because of the great player Justin is, but because of what he means to us as teammates and coaches," head coach Jay Wright said via a team statement. "As one of our captains, Justin has been an integral part of our success. He helps our team in so many ways. Every game, he guards the opponent's best scorer and is one of the toughest rebounding guards we have had in our time at Villanova."
Moore sustained the injury on a drive to the basket in the game's final minute with Villanova leading 48-44.
He planted his right leg and immediately collapsed before a jump ball was called amid a tie-up.
Justin Moore injury. Watch at your own discretion pic.twitter.com/nmw44FDWha
— Wes Scheier (@HoopsClips) March 27, 2022
He grabbed his lower right leg as soon as he fell. He eventually limped off the court with the help of his teammates, but struggled to put weight on his injured leg. After the clock ticked to zero on Villanova's 50-44 win, Moore was in tears on the sideline, surrounded by teammates.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 27, 2022
Villanova announced shortly after the game that Moore sustained a lower leg injury. He returned to the court for the net-cutting celebration on crutches. Wright knew at the time that it was bad.
"It's probably not good for Justin," Wright said after the game. "We're going to get an MRI when we get back. But it's probably not good."
Can Villanova compete without Moore?
While Villanova is headed to its third Final Four since 2016, it will do so shorthanded. Moore's absence is a big blow to its championship hopes and hugely disappointing for the junior guard.
A three-year starter, Moore averaged 15 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 35.3% from 3-point distance this season. He was named second-team All-Big East for his performance during the regular season.
A Villanova team that plays just six players in double-figure minutes will have to dig deeper into its bench for Saturday's national semifinal against a Kansas team that steamrolled Miami on Sunday to secure its Final Four berth. Junior guard Chris Arcidiacono (1.7 points in 9.9 minutes per game) will likely be asked to play a significantly bigger role on the game's biggest stage.