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Heart infection likely to keep Washington State’s Deion James off court for remainder of 2019-20 season

Washington State forward Deion James (20) attempts a shot as Seattle center Jordan Dallas (21) and guard Morgan Means (13) defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in Pullman, Wash. (Pete Caster / AP)

Dealing with a serious heart infection, it’s likely that forward Deion James will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 basketball season for Washington State.

James passed out during the opening game of the Cayman Islands Classic against Nebraska and missed the final two games of the tournament. In Kyle Smith’s weekly news conference Tuesday, the coach said James would be out “indefinitely.”

The Colorado State graduate transfer, however, posted on his Twitter account Wednesday morning that he’s been diagnosed with a heart condition called myocarditis and will “miss 3-6 months of basketball.” Even if James recovers in three months, it may not enough to return for the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, which begins on March 11.

“I want to thank all the doctors that helped, my friends & family for the love and support,” James wrote in his Twitter post. “My journey continues.”

It’s the second time in two years James has dealt with a serious ailment/injury that’s kept him away from the basketball court. The forward had offseason knee surgery at CSU, which forced him to miss the entirety of the 2018-19 season in Fort Collins.

James came off the bench five times for the Cougars, averaging 2.6 points per game and 0.8 rebounds per game in fewer than 7 minutes per game. He was thought to be someone who could contribute in a big way for the Cougars after scoring 10.5 ppg and grabbing 5.3 rpg during his junior season with the Rams.

Smith’s team has been riddled with injuries throughout the nonconference schedule. Starting point guard Jaylen Shead missed one full game and part of another with an ankle injury. Volodymyr Markovetskyy, Jervae Robinson, Isaac Bonton, Noah Williams and Ryan Rapp have not been at 100 percent, Smith indicated Tuesday.

Adding on

In line with the impending transition to a 20-game league schedule, the Pac-12 announced two additional games for each of its 12 teams for the 2020-21 basketball season.

The schedule additions mean the Pac-12 season will begin as early as Nov. 29, with Stanford at USC, and fans will be able to watch 11 more conference games over the first three weeks of December.

WSU will host Oregon State on Dec. 2 at Beasley Coliseum before traveling to Boulder to face Colorado on Dec. 5.