By Paul M. Banks
First Kevin Coble, now this. An official statement just released from Northwestern University reads:
that senior guard/forward Jeff Ryan suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Wildcats’ season-opening contest against Northern Illinois Friday night and will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season. Ryan is expected to undergo surgery to repair the knee in the coming weeks.
“I feel badly for Jeff,” Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody said. “He had been playing very well the past weeks and we were looking forward to him being a key contributor this season. It’s an unfortunate situation and we hope that he’s able to have a speedy recovery.” Ryan has appeared in 80 career games, including making 22 starts. Ryan ranks eighth in school history with a .496 career field goal percentage.”
Although Ryan was expected to be a key reserve for this season, the real important injury news from Wildcat Alley centers around the leading scorer of the past three seasons, Kevin Coble. He will be evaluated again Monday, and possibly reach a decision about the fate of his 2009-2010 season. Coble, along with Carmody will decide on whether Kevin should a.) come back in approximately 6-8 weeks and play this season, letting his foot heal by his relaxing and staying off of it. or b.) get surgery to repair the foot, take a medical red-shirt season, forget about 2009-2010 and come back in 2010-2011.
So what would you do? Look at this way, if Ryan takes his red-shirt season, and Coble takes a red-shirt year the only important senior not back for ’10-’11 is wing Jeremy Nash. He will be a key loss; but Ryan and Coble would also return fresh to a team with a talented nucleus (Juice Thompson, John Shurna, Drew Crawford) that would have another year of seasoning. And that would likely be the difference in making 2010-2011 “the year”.
And by that I mean that’s when they’ll FINALLY make the tournament. Yes, the Big Ten’s much heralded junior class will all be seniors then, but the most talented players will leave early for the NBA Draft. Therefore, the conference will not be as strong and NU will have a much smoother road to the Big Dance. Just my opinion, but if I were Coble, I’d red-shirt.
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