Seattle - That upbeat start to the Washington men's basketball season was jolted Wednesday when the Huskies learned that starting point guard Abdul Gaddy was lost for the season.
Gaddy, a sophomore from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while driving to the basket near the end of pactice on Tuesday. He heard a pop, went down without contact but left the court thinking the injury was minor.
However, Gaddy received word from coach Lorenzo Romar early Wednesday that surgery was required.
“I’m all right now,” Gaddy said Wednesday, just before his teammates began practice for their Pacific-10 Conference home opener tonight against Oregon. “Tough thing to do, but it is what it is. I’m just cheering my teammates on and (will) go and have my surgery and try to recover from this as fast as I can.”
Gaddy called fellow-Tacoma teammate Isaiah Thomas soon thereafter. Most of the other Huskies got the word when they reported for practice.
“He’s really like a brother, like family,” Thomas said. “It hurt me when he told me. I wanted to cry. It’s just sad that it happens to a great person like that. He’s just so unselfish. The last thing he’s worried about is himself. When it happens to a good person like that, it hurts even more.”
No date for Gaddy’s surgery has been set, but it is likely to take place within a couple of weeks. If all goes according to plan, he is expected to be ready to start fall practice at close to 100 percent health.
“Thank goodness, the way things work now, medicine allows kids to come back and be healthy,” Romar said. “We have one of the best medical situations in the country. He’s going to be in good hands. It’s just hard to see him have to go through something like this.”
Gaddy has started all 13 games this season, averaging 8.5 points per game, up from his 3.9 average as a freshman. He leads the Pac-10 with a 3.1/1 assist/turnover ratio; his average of 3.8 assists per game is seventh in the league. He is ninth in 3-point shooting accuracy (40.6 percent).
“I thought I was really finding my niche here,” Gaddy said. “I thought I was playing well up to this point. This is another bump in the road. I’ll just come back and start off from where I left off.”
Romar said he doesn’t yet know who will take Gaddy’s spot in the starting lineup. Romar said he could choose from among wings Scott Suggs, Terrence Ross or C.J. Wilcox, while allowing point guard Venoy Overton to continue coming off the bench.
Overton is just rounding into form after being slowed most of the season with hamstring and knee injuries, but he said he is ready for an increased role.
“It’s going to be tough, just the fact that we’ve been having that three-guard rotation,” Overton said. “That’s not going to happen now. It’s going to be a lot of it on myself. A lot of the guards are going to have to step up.”
Romar said the Huskies were mostly concerned about their teammate on Wednesday, but he believes they will be able to reset their focus on the Ducks before the 5:30 p.m. tipoff.
Gaddy said that’s what he expects.
“They’ll handle it well,” he said. “I’ll be on the side cheering, so it’s not like I won’t be there or it’s not like I’m done forever. I’m just going to be out there cheering my teammates on, and I think they’ll just go even harder.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org
More reaction from Romar, Gaddy and other Huskies is available at blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports