Vermont’s TJ Long suffers scary non-contact injury in March Madness loss

The college basketball world rallied around Vermont’s TJ Long, who appeared to suffer a serious non-contact injury Friday in the closing minutes of the Catamounts’ 64-47 loss to Duke at Barclays Center.

“Prayers for TJ Long,” Duke posted on its official X account immediately after the game.

Long, the Rockville Centre, Long Island native who led Vermont in scoring this season after transferring from Fairfield, awkwardly dropped to the floor on a drive to the basket with 1:18 remaining and Duke ahead by 15.

TJ Long suffered the injury in the second half at Barclays Center. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“Oh boy, TJ Long,” play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle said as Long was down on the floor.

“The Barclays Center is in complete silence, CBS Sports’ John Fanta posted on X. “TJ Long was on a breakaway and is down writhing in pain.”

Long, a junior guard from Rockville Centre, had to be helped to the locker room and left the locker room on crutches, according to reports.

Vermont coach John Becker told CBS reporter Matt Norlander after the game that the initial hope was that Long “didn’t suffer a catastrophic injury to the knee,” pending further tests to determine the severity of the injury.

Vermont guard TJ Long is being attended to by a trainer after injuring his leg in the second half. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“He was clearly in pain and clearly upset,” Becker said, according to the Associated Press. “His parents made it down.

“So I just kind of let them be.”

It was a rough night in every way for Long, who managed just three points on 1-of-8 shooting in nearly 36 minutes.

“He’s had five game-winners this year. He’s got the magic. He’s had the magic all year,” Becker told the Associated Press. “The kid is an awesome kid and awesome basketball player, and he gets a lot of attention from the other team.

“They face-guarded him the whole game. They didn’t leave him. And that stuff has been happening for a long time, so it’s hard,” the coach added. “I’ll go down with that kid every day of the week. And we’re not here today without his season, without his heroics.”

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