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Houston All-America guard Jamal Shead injures right ankle in Sweet 16 loss to Duke

DALLAS (AP) — Jamal Shead buried his head in his arms at his locker as reporters shuffled away from their postgame interview with the Houston point guard.

The top-seeded Cougars had just lost to Duke 54-51 in the Sweet 16 on Friday night, with Shead missing the final 26 minutes after the All-American sprained his right ankle.

“You say, well, who is your point guard to replace Jamal?” coach Kelvin Sampson said. “We don’t have a point guard to replace Jamal. We’ve had guys to go in and rest him, but get him back in.”

There was no going back in for Shead, and no moving on to the Elite Eight for the third time in his four years with the Cougars, which included a Final Four run when he was a freshman in 2021.

The fortunes of the Cougars changed dramatically with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half when Shead planted his foot on a drive, turning it awkwardly as he continued the play and missed a contested layup.

In obvious pain, Shead went to the floor under the basket, reached at his foot and then pulled his jersey up over his face. After being tended to by an athletic trainer, Shead walked gingerly past the Houston bench and into the tunnel toward the locker room.

It was a different kind of pain as he rested his head on the left shoulder of teammate Ja'Vier Francis in a somber Houston locker room.

“I hate that it ended like this,” Shead said. “I wish I could have got back out there and at least been in the fight. It would have been different if I could have at least limped around a little bit and fought a little bit. Just been in the fight with them until the end. It didn’t happen that way.”

X-rays showed no fracture and Shead's injury was diagnosed as a severely sprained ankle, CBS Sports reported.

The CBS broadcast at halftime showed video of Shead coming out of the locker room, using a scooter with his right knee resting on that, and no sock or shoe on the foot he hurt, while using his left leg to move.

Shead spent the second half on the bench, a black warmup top covering his jersey but still in shorts. There was never any indication he would return.

After Emanuel Sharp's 3-point attempt in the final seconds fell short and fourth-seeded Duke inbounded to run out the clock, Shead stayed in his seat for a couple of minutes before limping off the floor toward the locker room.

“It doesn’t feel like a fair fight,” Sampson said. “You would have to take maybe two of theirs to equal one of Jamal. That’s how good he was. You don’t have another one of those. You don’t have the best defensive player in the Big 12. You don’t have a guy that made all the big shots at the end.”

Shead had two points on 1-of-5 shooting with three assists and two steals while playing the first 13 minutes.

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AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.

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