The UNM men’s basketball team won’t have a big contributor for the first two games of the regular season.

Guard Phillip McDonald, who started every game last season, suffered a partially torn ligament in his elbow during the Lobos’ 107-62 exhibition win over Manchester College.

Head coach Steve Alford said McDonald will be evaluated after the Lobos’ first two games.

“Obviously, Phillip’s injury— there is never a good time,” Alford said. “And the start of the season, it’s always difficult, but at least we’re not in the brunt of it, and at least we’re not in the conference.”

In UNM’s two exhibition games McDonald was 3-of-19 from the field and hit only one 3-pointer in three attempts. The good news, Alford said, is that the doctors said the injury isn’t as bad as they had originally thought.

If McDonald is unable to return, Alford could assign him a medical redshirt according to NCAA regulations.

“It looks like it’s a partial tear,” Alford said. “So he is in a cast, and it’s kind of a soft cast and a sling that is removable, so he can do some rehab and we’ll test it again. The doctors will look at it again next Wednesday.”