Defender Mullins sidelined by knee injury

Syracuse defender Brandon Mullins will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, the men's lacrosse team announced Thursday.

After a season-opening loss to Albany, the Syracuse men's lacrosse team went back to defensive basics in rattling off a two-game win streak over Army and Virginia.

That defense will have to adjust again, barely two weeks later.

Orange defender Brandon Mullins will be out for the season after suffering a knee injury in Syracuse's 9-8 overtime win over the then-No. 6 Cavaliers on Mar. 1, the school announced Thursday. Mullins collapsed after cutting hard on his knee late in the fourth quarter. The injury will require surgery, the team said.

Syracuse coach John Desko praised Mullins for his versatility, and said finding a replacement on defense who can get involved on both ends of the field may prove difficult.

"It's probably not as far as someone who does both," Desko said in response to a question about Mullin's versatility.

Mullins forced a turnover and two ground balls in two starts in 2013, and played a key role in an Orange defense that shut down Army standout Garrett Thul and Virginia attackman Nick O'Reilly. The latter performance helped earn him a spot on this week's Big East Honor Roll and propel Syracuse to No. 10 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse national rankings.

Desko said defensive midfielders Matt HarrisPeter Macartney and Joe Fazio, as well as defender Kyle Carey, may be able to slide into Mullins' spot.

As a freshman in 2012, Mullins started in the final 10 games of the year, helping to hold Cornell star attackman Steve Mock without a point in the Orange's annual rivalry game against the Big Red. He registered 27 ground balls, 13 turnovers and two shots as a freshman, consisently lurching forward into the offense.

At 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, the bruising Mullins forsook offers to play small college football in favor of a role with Syracuse lacrosse. The first-team all-state and second-team all-american from Coppell, Texas, played in the Oil Bowl, an all-star game for high school football players from Texas and Oklahoma.

The Orange (2-1) will play St. John's (3-1) on Saturday in the Whitman's Sampler Independence Classic at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. The game will be broadcast on

"The standings are important now," Desko said. "The Big East can help us. We've got to be mentally prepared for this game."

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