Montana State men's basketball player Xavier Blount will likely miss the rest of his junior campaign after suffering severe injuries during an altercation early Sunday morning.
Blount, a junior, was taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital early Sunday morning after he was allegedly the victim of an assault outside a downtown Bozeman bar. Hospital spokesperson Constance Martin confirmed Blount was treated at the emergency room, but was not admitted to the hospital.
Blount's stepfather, Varick Tucker, told the Chronicle Blount suffered a separated shoulder, a broken nose and a "significant laceration to his lip". Tucker said Blount's "season is over. We don't know if it jeopardizes anything down the line."
"I don't think its right that a lot of this stuff goes on," said Tucker, who traveled to Bozeman from Louisville, Kentucky on Monday to be with his stepson.
Montana State men's head basketball coach Brad Huse confirmed Blount's injuries, saying the forward suffered a broken nose, a split lip that required several stitches and a shoulder injury to which the extent of the severity is unknown.
"It looks likes they're of the sort (of injuries) that will cost him the rest of the season. It's hard to quantify exactly what's wrong - they're still evaluating him," Huse said Monday evening.
The MSU head coach has closed practice until further notice.
Blount, along with three other Montana State athletes have been charged with various misdemeanor crimes after an investigation of an assault outside Bozeman's Bar IX bar by the Bozeman Police Department.
Montana State football players Zach Minter and Roger Trammell and Montana State track athlete Chris Wilson, along with Blount, were all charged on Monday.
Trammell, a 21-year-old linebacker for the Bobcats, has been charged with the assault of Blount. Trammell is charged with a misdemeanor. Wilson, a 20-year-old sprinter at MSU, has been cited for disorderly conduct and the unlawful use of a driver's license. Minter, a 21-year-old junior defensive tackle on the football team, was cited for unlawful use of a driver's license. Blount, a 20-year-old forward for the MSU men's basketball team, was cited for disorderly conduct and minor in possession of alcohol.
Blount turns 21 years old on Sunday. Wilson turns 21 on May 1.
In a statement released Monday afternoon by Montana State, the school acknowledged the incident and said Blount suffered "severe" injuries and could possibly miss the rest of the season. MSU also acknowledged the police investigation and that "other MSU student-athletes are believed to be involved."
"Our thoughts are with Xavier for a full recovery from these injuries," said MSU athletic director Peter Fields in the statement. "We are cooperating as Bozeman and Montana State University police and the MSU Dean of Students Office investigate this matter. The behavior alleged is unacceptable. We will not stand for it and will deal with it in an appropriate manner."
Montana State head track coach Dale Kennedy did not return a message left by the Chronicle before press time. MSU head football coach Rob Ash declined to comment on the situation, only saying he is aware of the assault and the school will make a statement at the weekly press conference held on the MSU campus today at noon.
Montana State assistant athletic director of media relations Bill Lamberty said MSU is aware of the situation but that MSU has not seen charging documents as of yet, nor does MSU have any concrete evidence of the charges.
Bozeman police were called to Bar IX on East Main Street in Bozeman around 1:15 a.m. on Sunday morning. A bouncer from the bar said a man was found barely conscious on the back porch of the establishment, according to the police report.
Blount is the 11-13 Bobcats' leading scorer this season. The 6-foot-4 native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, averages 11.7 points per game this campaign after transferring to MSU from Cochise College. He scored eight points in Montana State's 77-64 overtime loss to Northern Colorado in Greely, Colo., Saturday afternoon. Montana State returned to Bozeman late Saturday evening.
Montana State has three regular-season games remaining before the Big Sky Championship tournament.
"We've got to fill his minutes and his role," Huse said. "We're going to do that a lot of different ways. We've had good contributions from all of our guys, players that have come off the bench. Everybody's role is going to get amped up a little more as a result (of the injuries).
"We have a lot of different wrinkles that we'll consider, but it's pretty late to be making a lot of vast changes. We have to stick with what we're doing and adapt from there."
Minter, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound junior defensive tackle from Glendale, Ariz., was one of six unanimous first-team All-Big Sky Conference selections for the 10-3 Bobcats last fall. He was named an All-America by several media outlets after registering 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, both second on the Bobcats and in the top five in the league.
Trammell, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound outside linebacker from Lewisville, Texas, played in three games for Montana State last fall. The transfer from Tyler Junior College registered 11 tackles and recovered a fumble in three starts before blowing out his ACL against Minot State. Trammell is slated to be a starter for Montana State next fall.
Wilson, a sprinter from Great Falls, is among the top men's track athletes at MSU. Wilson broke MSU's program indoor record in the 55-meter dash earlier this winter. As a prep standout at C.M. Russell High School, Wilson broke the Class AA and all-class Montana state records in the 100 and 200 meter dashes at the Class AA state track meet in the spring of 2009. He turned down various track scholarships, instead electing to come to Montana State to play football. Wilson was a redshirt cornerback in 2009 and played until the spring of 2011 before leaving the team to concentrate on track.
The four men were ordered to appear in Gallatin County Justice Court for an initial appearance prior to March 1.