PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia 76ers top draft pick Craig "Speedy" Claxton will miss the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Sunday night's exhibition game against the Utah Jazz.
Claxton, a point guard out of Hofstra University who was the 20th overall pick in June's NBA draft, was driving for a layup on a fast break when he collided with Utah's Quincy Lewis. Claxton went down, grabbing his knee and was carried off by Sixers medical personnel.
"It's a killer," Sixers coach Larry Brown said of Claxton's injury. "I don't know how you react to something like that. He was playing great. He was going to be a big contributor."
Although the injury happened at the same time as the collision, 76ers team physician Dr. John McPhilemy said it appeared to be a "non-contact type of injury."
"It's a severe injury but we expect him to come back and play well," Dr. McPhilemy said.
Claxton underwent x-rays in the locker room and is scheduled for an MRI on Monday morning to determine if there is any additional damage. Although the injury is expected to require surgery, no definite decision has been reached on when it would occur. McPhilemy said that it "could happen quickly."
Claxton averaged 5.2 points, 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals in six exhibition games.
Sixers general manager Billy King said there would be no immediate decision on a replacement.
"We'll evaluate tomorrow and see what we are going to do," King said.
It was the second straight game in which a Sixers guard left the game with an injury. Allen Iverson twisted his ankle against the Washington Wizards on Friday. Iverson started Sunday.
Image courtesy of The Philadelphia 76ers' Official Site.