Six Injuries Affecting Pac-12 Teams

Posted by Andrew Murawa on October 28th, 2015

Here we are, counting down the final few weeks until the start of the college basketball regular season. Everything’s great. We get to read about new players making their marks, possible breakout players and teams, and we get to dream of the season that is about to unfold before us. And then, in the middle of it all, we get bummed out with news like that which broke over the weekend: Arizona freshman Ray Smith, recently off a torn ACL in his left knee that caused him to miss his senior season of high school, has now torn the ACL in his right knee and will miss the entire upcoming season. Horrible, terrible, stupid no-good, **expletive deleted**. Unfortunately, these things are a part of the game and they’ll have an impact on the year ahead of us. Below we’ll review six injuries to Pac-12 players that occurred during the offseason, and later today we’ll take a look at five players who will (hopefully) return from an injury suffered last season.

Ray Smith, Arizona – We’ll start with Smith, who in all likelihood was going to start the season as a reserve. However, since he was playing a position of scarcity on the Arizona roster, he had the potential to work his way into the starting lineup as an athletic defender at the three with excellent open court abilities. Now, after successfully rehabilitating his left knee for the past year, he’s got to do it all over again with the right leg. Best wishes go out to Smith in the hopes that he’ll be back in time to have an impact on the 2016-17 season.

Xavier Johnson's Achilles Injury Will Likely Cost Him The 2015-16 Season (Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera)

Xavier Johnson’s Achilles Injury Will Likely Cost Him The 2015-16 Season (Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera)

Xavier Johnson, Colorado – Johnson tore his Achilles in June. With that kind of injury, you typically just figure: “Okay, he’s out for the year.” But in September Jon Rothstein reported that Johnson has not yet been entirely ruled out and that the program would re-assess his condition in December. After playing at least 24 minutes per game and averaging 10.2 PPG and 5.3 RPG over his first three seasons in Boulder, Johnson is as big piece to the puzzle for the Buffaloes, especially if paired alongside fellow senior Josh Scott in the frontcourt. More likely, however, a redshirt season is the likely outcome for Big X this year. As a result, sophomore George King (himself coming off a redshirt season, although for player development rather than from an injury) is the most likely candidate to spend time at the three for the Buffs.

Jordan Bell, Oregon – The conference’s leading returning shot-blocker had surgery in May on a broken foot, and yet, almost six months later, he’s still waiting to get back on the floor. That is, well, not good. When healthy, Bell is the type of impact player who wise prognosticators would be smart to put in the mix for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. If the Ducks miss him, however, for any length of time, they’ve got plenty of interesting fallback options, especially with 6’10” national JuCo Player of the Year Chris Boucher looking for playing time. But in the interest of overall depth, hopefully Bell can be healthy early enough to ramp back to full strength in time for conference play.

Shot-Blocking Phenom Jordan Bell Is Behind Schedule Following Offseason Foot Surgery (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Shot-Blocking Phenom Jordan Bell Is Behind Schedule Following Offseason Foot Surgery (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Marcus Allen, Stanford – With Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown finally out of eligibility, it was time for this 6’3” junior guard to become Johnny Dawkins’ biggest backcourt threat. After earning 54.5 percent of possible minutes for the Cardinal last season and posting a big bump in efficiency as a sophomore, Allen posted great numbers in Stanford’s trip to Italy this summer, raising expectations significantly for his junior year. And then it was reported that he had suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in early October. Odds are that he’ll be back this season, but his absence is regarded as “indefinite”and these types of injuries can be tricky. In the meantime, the remaining healthy players in the Stanford backcourt are sophomore point guard Robert Cartwright, who is expected to start; Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ little-used twin (4.6 MPG in 16 games as a frosh before redshirting last year); junior role player Christian Sanders; and sophomore shooter Dorian Pickens. In other words, a whole lot of question marks over in Palo Alto.

Andre Adams, Arizona State – Of these six injured players, Adams is the least well-known. A freshman forward with the Sun Devils, he was expected to do little more than provide depth as an athletic eighth-or-ninth-man on the bench. But Adams, much like Smith, tore an ACL for the second time in two seasons and will miss the entire 2015-16 season as a result. While he wasn’t expected to have a huge role this year, it is a tough break for a team that is already a little thin on the bench. It looks like the Arizona State rotation can only go about eight deep this season.

Daniel Gomis, Oregon State – We’ll wrap up this depressing tour in Corvallis where word broke on Tuesday night that the 6’10” senior center would miss six to eight weeks after breaking his left hand in practice on Monday. Gomis has already overcome two broken legs in his collegiate career but seemed to finally achieve stability after playing two full seasons and settling in as a shot-blocking force in the middle. Gomis is just the latest in a long line of Beavers battling injury early this season, with Jarmal Reid, Cheikh N’diaye and freshman guard Kendal Manuel battling issues ranging from nagging to possibly season-ruining (Manuel’s surgery following a broken fibula in his right leg).

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