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Demetrius Walker suspended indefinitely from UNM Lobos

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Demetrius Walk­er was a starter on the New Mex­i­co Lobos ros­ter to open the sea­son.

He is now done for at least the rest of the reg­u­lar sea­son as coach Steve Al­ford on Mon­day an­nounced the 6-foot2 ju­nior guard from Font a na , Calif., has been sus­pend­ed in­def­i­nite­ly for a “vi­o­la­tion of team rules.”

Walk­er was not at Mon­day’s prac­tice in the Rudy Dava­l­os Cen­ter. A team of­fi­cial said Walk­er is still a mem­ber of the team and would not be al­lowed to speak to the media on Mon­day about the sus­pen­sion when the Jour­nal re­quest­ed to speak with Walk­er.

“I won’t say any­more about it,” Al­ford said. “I want to pro­tect him ob­vi­ous­ly. It’s an in­def­i­nite sus­pen­sion and we’ll just see how it plays out the rest of the year.”

Al­ford said the sus­pen­sion is not re­lat­ed to an in­jury but would not say whether Walk­er will re­turn to the team for the March 12-17 Moun­tain West Tour­na­ment. Walk­er will not make the road trip this week as the Lobos (25-4, 12-2 Moun­tain West) close the reg­u­lar sea­son at Neva­da in Reno on Wednes­day and at Air Force in Col­orado Springs on Sat­ur­day.

Walk­er has missed the past four games since hurt­ing his knee Feb. 13 at Fresno State, though he’s been healthy enough to play at least in the past two.

The Jour­nal on Sat­ur­day asked Al­ford if fresh­man Cleve­land “Pan­cake” Thomas had of­fi­cial­ly passed Walk­er on the depth chart and what it meant for Walk­er’s role with the team.

“Yeah, I think so,” Al­ford said of Thomas. “It doesn’t mean Demetrius can’t get back in there.”

Ju­nior guard Kendall Williams, who said he is a close friend of Walk­er, said the team just learned of the sus­pen­sion and is mov­ing for­ward under the as­sump­tion Walk­er will not be back.

“Los­ing a team­mate like that for me per­son­al­ly is tough and I think col­lec­tive­ly we’re going to have to come togeth­er and try to move on,” Williams said.

He added, “Get­ting ready for Vegas, you have to lock in your mind. I don’t think I’d be telling the truth if you said you didn’t feel for D-Walk and that the team’s not going to feel it.”

Walk­er, whose mid­sea­son slump was well doc­u­ment­ed as he failed to hit one field goal in the month of Jan­uary, has av­er­aged 5.0 points, 1.2 re­bounds in 23 games this sea­son and has had 15 as­sists and 30 turnovers.

LOBOS LINKS: Roster | Schedule/Results | Geoff Grammer’s blog