Rockridge High School basketball standout Ethan Happ plays in the Sharp Shootout at Rock Island High School Friday afternoon. He recently committed to Wisconsin. June 29, 2012. (Larry Fisher/QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Larry Fisher

The Rockridge boys basketball team has raced out to its best start in school history at 9-0.

But for the Rockets to extend that perfect streak into 2013, they’ll have do so without their star player.

Wisconsin recruit and 6-foot-7 junior Ethan Happ, who registered seven double-doubles in the team’s first eight games, is sidelined for the next 2 to 4 weeks with a slight medial collateral ligament tear in his left knee.

“Obviously, he was crushed when he found out about this,” Rockridge coach Toby Whiteman said Thursday. “I just told him that we need to look at the bigger picture and it’s only a few weeks. It could have been worse.

“He’s just a great kid that loves the game of basketball, and any kid that loves something and it is taken away — even for only a couple weeks — it is going to crush them.”

Happ sustained the injury during a 57-30 victory over Princeton last Friday. He didn’t play in Tuesday night’s home win over Stark County and an MRI confirmed the injury Wednesday.

Surgery is not required, but Happ won’t be on the court when Rockridge opens the Macomb-Western Holiday tournament next Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against Illini Bluffs. The Rockets are the top seed in the 16-team event.

Happ had scoring outputs of 34 and 38 points in games earlier this season.

Whiteman said Happ’s absence impacts his team, but Rockridge can still survive. It clobbered Stark County 51-27 without Happ and fellow starter T.J. Henry, who was out with illness.

“With the way Ethan handles the ball, passes it, his scoring and presence inside, that’s a big loss,” Whiteman said. “On the other hand, we’ve got a good team and we’ve got a lot of other good players.

“Now kids like T.J. and Nyle Stevens can step into more of a scoring role for us, and they’re very capable of doing that.”