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Posted at 1:15 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Will Sherrill out for near future with fractured right fibula

By Steve Yanda

Virginia senior forward Will Sherrill suffered a fractured right fibula during the second half of Monday night's 87-79 win at No. 15 Minnesota, Cavaliers Coach Tony Bennett said Wednesday. While Bennett said a timetable for Sherrill's return to play had not yet been determined, the average recovery time for a fractured fibula is 4-6 weeks, according to one medical web-site.

With Sherrill out for at least the near future, Virginia will look to fill the void his absence creates in the frontcourt with a larger role for junior center Assane Sene and more playing time for freshmen forwards Will Regan and Akil Mitchell.

Bennett said that, at this time, lifting the redshirt from freshman forward James Johnson is "not a consideration," though that may change if another injury occurs or if circumstances necessitate such a move.

"Will’s been playing well for us," Bennett said. "I’d been happy for him. He’s really been providing good leadership and smarts, and that will be certainly something we’ll have to replace and throw another one of the first-years into the mix. It will be certainly an opportunity for them, but I feel for Will because he was coming a long nicely."

Through the first seven games of the season, Sherrill was averaging 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 22.1 minutes per game. He also had contributed seven steals, which ranked second on the team, and was shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 54.5 percent (12 for 22) from three-point range.

Sene played well after Sherrill was forced to depart Monday night's game with just less than 11 minutes to play. Sherrill, Sene and Minnesota forward Colton Iverson were scrambling for a loose ball rebound when Iverson fell on Sherrill and Sene eventually tumbled over the both of them. Sherrill had to be helped off the court -- by Regan and Mitchell, interestingly enough -- but he later returned to the Virginia bench sporting crutches.

After the game, Sherrill returned to his native New York where he had previously scheduled job interviews to attend the following day. He received an X-ray exam there, which provided the initial diagnosis. Bennett said Sherrill would undergo further examination and testing once the player returned to Charlottesville. At that point, the coach said, a more precise timeline for Sherrill's recovery will be determined.

As for Regan and Mitchell, they're plate quickly will become more full. Regan played one minute against Minnesota and has logged more than six minutes in a game just once this season. He is averaging 1.3 points and 1.0 rebound per contest.

Mitchell has not played at all in two of the past three games, including Monday night. During the one game in that span that Mitchell did see the court, he logged two minutes. He is averaging 1.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest.

Bennett said Sherrill will be missed on both ends of the court.

"Offensively, (Sherrill) stretches it a little bit for Mike Scott because he’s shooting the ball well and he gets some of those defenders off of Scott," Bennett said. "But on the defensive end he has good anticipation because he’s been in the system. He’s a heady player, and if we decide to trap the post he’s there on the catch. He is probably our best post defender, team defender. That’s a significant loss in that regard.

"But again, this is an opportunity for Akil. He actually can slide his feet and move, does a pretty good job on perimeter guys. But there’s another art to the physicalness and the fight for positioning and the footwork going on in the interior. So that will be a challenge, and hopefully those guys (Regan and Mitchell) will learn, and we’ll certainly have to be creative at times, too."

By Steve Yanda  | December 1, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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