MISSOULA – Forward Mathias Ward, who was injured on Feb. 16 in The University of Montana’s 61-54 road win at Idaho State, had surgery Wednesday morning and will miss the rest of the season.

A 6-foot-7, 228-pound senior from Gig Harbor, Wash.,Ward had started the first 24 games of the season for the Grizzlies. He is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.8 points a game, which ranks him fifth in the Big Sky Conference. He is also ranked among the conference leaders in free throw percentage (sixth, 81.7 percent) and field goal percentage (51 percent). He was named the Big Sky’s Player of the Week twice this season.

“It was a deal where we were thinking about his future and getting that surgery done so that he might have opportunities to play in the future,”said Griz head coach Wayne Tinkle. “It’s just too bad it had to happen late in the season in his senior year. We will definitely miss him out on the floor.

“But we’ve been pleased with the guys who have stepped up in his absence, guys like Mike (Weisner) and Spencer (Coleman), ” Tinkle said. “He’ll (Ward) be out there in spirit and with us on the bench, trying to help us motivate the guys. He obviously has meant a lot to our team, and he’s been instrumental in the amount of games that we’ve won in his four years.”

The Griz have 89 victories so far from the time Ward was a freshman in 2010 until now.

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