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Illinois guard Brandon Paul suffers fractured lower jaw

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - First Round

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 08: Brandon Paul #3 of the Illinois Fighting Illini shoots the ball during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 8, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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According to the Illinois basketball program rising senior guard Brandon Paul suffered a fractured lower jaw in a game at open gym on Thursday.

According to Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, Paul will undergo surgery today and should be able to take part in non-contact work in two weeks.

Obviously no injury is good, but if there’s a time for a player to have to deal with one during the summer would probably be it.

Paul averaged 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for the Fighting Illini, with his season-high being the 43-point explosion in Illinois’ 79-74 victory over Ohio State on January 10.

Paul and classmate D.J. Richardson will be key cogs in the Illini attack as John Groce enters his first season at the school after leading Ohio to the Sweet 16.

Illinois dropped nine of their final ten games in 2011-12, ultimately leading to the dismissal of Bruce Weber who is now the head coach at Kansas State.

Joseph Bertrand also returns to Champaign, but the Fighting Illini will need their returning big men to step up in light of Meyers Leonard entering the NBA Draft.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.