Potential No. 1 seed UCLA suffers another injury as Adem Bona exits with a shoulder injury
A week ago, UCLA looked like a possible No. 1 seed and national title contender.
It hasn't been a great week for UCLA, in terms of injuries. First, guard Jaylen Clark went down with a torn Achilles in the regular-season finale last weekend. He was UCLA's best defender and second-leading scorer.
Then freshman big man Adem Bona left Friday night's Pac-12 semifinal game with a shoulder injury and was unable to return. During the game, UCLA's sports information staff said Bona's status beyond Friday night is unknown.
UCLA overcame that injury to win 75-56 over Oregon, advancing to the Pac-12 championship game on Saturday. That was impressive, as was Thursday's win over Colorado without Clark. But it's hard to imagine the injuries don't affect UCLA in the NCAA tournament, if Bona is out for a while.
Whatever the extent of the injury, don't expect an official announcement.
Mick Cronin asked about Adem Bona. His response: "You think I'd tell you?"
— Jon Christon (@JonChristonDB) March 11, 2023
Bona, a 6-foot-10 freshman who was one of the highest-rated recruits in his class, was averaging 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds coming into Friday night's game. Bona went down and held his arm at his side as he was led to the locker room. Bona returned to the bench but did not reenter the game.
UCLA isn't a big team and Bona is the only player over 6-8 getting significant minutes. Losing Bona would hurt the Bruins' frontcourt defense, and that's after Clark's loss affects the perimeter defense.
UCLA is still in play for a No. 1 seed if they win the Pac-12 title. But the selection committee might have to take into account what UCLA's lineup will look like in the NCAA tournament.