Marquette star Tyler Kolek out for Big East tournament opener with oblique injury

Tyler Kolek is now considered questionable for the rest of the Big East tournament

Tyler Kolek won’t be ready for the start of the Big East tournament after all.

The Marquette star, after missing the team’s final three games of the regular season due to an oblique injury, will sit out the Golden Eagles’ first game of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, head coach Shaka Smart announced.

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Kolek was expected to be available for Marquette for the tournament in New York. He participated in part of practice Wednesday, Smart said, and he’s now considered questionable for the rest of the conference tournament. The hope is that he’ll be ready to go for the NCAA tournament.

"He's still day-to-day and not planning on playing tomorrow, but he's close," Smart said in a statement. "He practiced for part of our session today and he's been working out and continues to get treatment. The plan is absolutely for him to play next week, and he's made really good progress."

Kolek first went down with his oblique injury in their win over Providence last month after he awkwardly twisted his body when making a pass. He then missed their final three games of the regular season, which included losses at Creighton and against UConn.

Kolek, who was last year’s Big East player of the Year, averaged 15 points and a Division-I best 7.6 assists per game this season.

Marquette finished the season with a 23-8 record, which earned it the No. 3 seed in the Big East tournament. The Golden Eagles will take on either Villanova or DePaul on Thursday in the quarterfinals, with Creighton likely waiting for them in the semifinals.

While he’s not the key to their success, the Golden Eagles have a much better chance at a deep run at Madison Square Garden with him available and healthy.