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Wisconsin’s Aleem Ford out indefinitely with knee injury

Wisconsin v Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 16: Vincent Edwards #12 of the Purdue Boilermakers reaches for the ball against Aleem Ford #2 of the Wisconsin Badgers at Mackey Arena on January 16, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

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MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin forward Aleem Ford will have surgery on his knee and is out indefinitely, providing a blow to the Badgers’ frontcourt depth.

The Badgers said Ford, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, is expected to return later this season.

Ford was expected to be the first forward off the bench for coach Greg Gard’s team. He averaged 5.8 points and shot a team-high 40.9 percent from 3-point range in playing all 33 games, including 20 starts.

Ford had 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 3 from the 3-point line, in a closed scrimmage this week against Iowa State.

Another sophomore, Nathan Reuvers, figures to start up front next to preseason All-American Ethan Happ. And Khalil Iverson has the athleticism to keep up defensively with bigger forwards.

The loss of Ford might mean more opportunities for Charlie Thomas and Alex Illikainen, seniors with some experience but who don’t provide scoring punch.

The Badgers hope to bounce back from a 15-18 season that ended a stretch of 19 straight NCAA tournament appearances. They open at home against Coppin State on Tuesday.