LARAMIE -- When Eoin Nelson went down in practice on New Year's Day, Jeff Linder said he feared the worst.

Still, the big Irishman made the road trip to Fresno, sporting a black walking boot on his left foot.

It's not easy getting MRI's over the holidays. That instead came this week. And while the prognosis isn't ideal, it's not the devastating setback Linder had in mind.

"It was a lower leg injury so we thought he might have torn his Achilles tendon," Linder said during his weekly press conference Friday morning. "We got the MRI back and that is not the case, but he will still be out for a significant amount of time."

Without the 6-foot, 10-inch sophomore forward, Fresno State's Orlando Robinson faced mostly the combination of Hunter Thompson and Jeremiah Oden in the two-game series in California. The Cowboys won the opener Saturday before falling 81-61 Monday night.

Robinson netted a career-high 33 points.

Oden, Linder said, hadn't practiced at that spot all season. Thompson is best utilized on the outside. Linder said postgame Monday that Nelson's inside presence was definitely missed.

Wyoming (7-2, 1-1) will once again rely on those two when league-leading Boise State (9-1, 5-0) pays a visit to Laramie for a two-game set, beginning Monday night inside the Arena-Auditorium. Linder said he has a feeling the Broncos and his old boss, Leon Rice, will try to make a living under the basket.

"We're a smaller right now so teams are going to try to take advantage of us in the post," Linder said. "(Abu) Kigab, (Derrick) Alston and (Emmanuel) Akot are going to try to get in some dribble down situations. I'm anticipating them trying to get the ball inside a little more."

There is no timetable for Nelson's return, but Linder has said he hopes to get freshman big man Graham Ike into the lineup hopefully around late January. The 6-foot, 9-inch forward is still recovering from offseason ACL surgery.

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