Nichols standout senior guard Ron Canestro is out six weeks with a broken finger, a devastating blow to Western New York's best boys basketball team.
Canestro injured the pinky finger on his right hand, which is his shooting hand, going for a loose ball at practice Wednesday evening.
"It's hard to really know how it will affect us, because he's been with us for so long," said Nichols coach Greg Plumb, whose team is No. 1 in the large school poll and owns double-digit victories over No. 2 Niagara Falls and No. 1 small school Olean.
"It's going to be hard -- [now with the injury] you realize that he's done what he's done so well for so long. He's a captain, a senior, he's been playing four years -- his shooting ability, his defense, he does so many things. He doesn't just put points on the board, he does everything else."
The initial diagnosis of six weeks came before Canestro had successful surgery on the finger this afternoon. It is possible -- even likely -- that that timetable would have Canestro miss the rest of the season.
"We're treating it like a season-ending injury," said Plumb. "It's difficult to see what to do from here. We'll play the next couple of games and make moves from there. We certainly can't just put it one one guy -- all of our guys need to take a little piece of Ron to try to fill the void right now."
Canestro was a third-team All-Western New York selection last year, a fourth-teamer as a sophomore and an honorable mention as a freshman.
Plumb said that there is a very small chance that Canestro could play in the Manhattan Cup final (Feb. 28), if Nichols were to advance that far. If Nichols were to win the Manhattan Cup, there is a week before the Catholic state playoff game; Plumb said that he would think Canestro would be back for that state playoff game if that scenario were to play out.
Nichols plays Cathedral Prep Friday night in the prestigious McDonald's Tournament hosted by the Erie, Pa., school at Gannon University.
The Vikings certainly have an abundance of talent in their starting lineup with Virginia signee Will Regan and senior point guard Andy MacKinnon -- both of whom have played on the varsity with Canestro since they were freshman -- as well as senior forward Connor Vandegriff and sophomore guard Stan Wier.
"He's been working so hard so long, Andy, Will and Ron have been together since they were freshmen," Plumb said. "Hopefully team can pick it up. We have Cathedral Prep tomorrow, and we'll see how they respond."
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