PROVO — As No. 7 BYU heads into perhaps its biggest regular-season week in history, star guard Jimmer Fredette is nursing a leg injury.
The national player of the year candidate did not practice Monday due to a left calf contusion, which he suffered in the Cougars' 79-56 victory at TCU last Saturday.
"It has kind of been stiff and bothering him," BYU coach Dave Rose said of the injury, adding that Fredette "took a real shot" in the TCU game and that "he's been icing (the leg) all weekend, but it's really sore and he couldn't go (Monday)."
Rose added that he's hopeful Fredette will be able to practice today, "but if not, we'll see how he feels on Wednesday."
That's when the Cougars host Colorado State, which sits in third place in the Mountain West Conference standings.
Then on Saturday, BYU has another monumental matchup with No. 6 San Diego State. The Cougars and Aztecs tangle at noon on CBS in San Diego.
BYU handed SDSU its only loss of the season on Jan. 26 in Provo, 71-58. Fredette exploded for 43 points in that contest, which marked the first-ever meeting between two top 10 teams in MWC history.
"We understand how big a week this is," said BYU guard Jackson Emery. "We only have a couple of games left and it's really important for us to make a statement, especially this week. We're really excited. We know it's going to be tough, but this is why you play basketball."
"These next games are all really important," Rose said. "The more you win, the more important the next game becomes. That's the great part about winning games, is that next one becomes that much more important. A big win at TCU makes this Colorado State game really big."
Many national bracketologists are projecting BYU as a No. 2 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
But Emery knows there's a lot of work to be done first.
"You can't focus on that because so many things can happen from now until the end of the season," he said. "We have four games left, then the Mountain West Conference Tournament. If you let two or three (games) slide, you can go from a No. 2 or 3 seed to a No. 10 or 11 seed. It's interesting and fun, but you can't let that get to you."
THE RANKINGS: After a weekend that saw four teams above them in the national polls lose, it appeared both the Cougars and Aztecs could sneak into the top five.
Instead, BYU remained at No. 7 in the Associated Press poll while SDSU stayed at No. 6.
In the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, the Aztecs jumped from No. 6 to No. 4, and the Cougars moved up one spot to No. 7.
Though BYU didn't gain any ground in the AP poll, the Cougars did receive two first-place votes — one from John Feinstein of National Public Radio and one from The Roanoke (Va.) Times' Mark Berman. It is believed to be the first time BYU has ever received first-place votes in that poll.
Cougars on the air
Colorado State (18-8, 8-4) at No. 7 BYU (25-2, 11-1)
Wednesday, 6 p.m.
TV: The Mtn.
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM