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Posted at 5:55 AM ET, 01/12/2011

For Mike Scott, returning to Virginia next season a sensible choice

By Steve Yanda

Virginia senior forward Mike Scott confirmed in a conference call Tuesday that he plans to apply for a medical hardship waiver for this season and return to the Cavaliers for the 2011-12 campaign after he recovers from a second surgery on his left ankle.

That news bodes well for Virginia's prospects next season, when its current large crop of freshmen will have a full year's collegiate experience under its belt and James Johnson will be available to play. But it also speaks to Scott's awareness of his own skill level.

He doesn't have to apply for the medical redshirt. He could have the surgery, get healthy, graduate this spring and venture off into the professional ranks. Scott has had a fairly productive career at Virginia, and he turned in several stellar performances this season before going down with the ankle injury. Scott was averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest.

He would have -- at the very least -- been appealing to professional teams, whether in the NBA or overseas, and likely would have been able to obtain a contract to play somewhere. But Scott believes that by returning to Charlottesville next season he'll be in position to raise his stock.

"I don’t think I was really on anyone’s radar for me to just say, 'I’m done with college. I’m just going to get my degree and try to play professional basketball,'" Scott said Tuesday. "I don’t think I was out there or ready yet. I think with another year of improvement with the coaches, another season with (strength and conditioning) coach (Mike) Curtis, it will get me a little quicker and stronger. I think that will better my chances of playing professional basketball."

Scott said no date yet has been set for his second surgery. He underwent an operation on his left ankle Dec. 16. But after suffering a few setbacks in practice following the Christmas break, Scott met with Coach Tony Bennett to discuss his options. He had another MRI taken, and that test revealed more loose bodies in the ankle that needed to be cleared out.

After consulting with his father and with Bennett, Scott elected to undergo another, more extensive surgery which will sideline him for 3-4 months. And after that, he'll get to work on returning for a redshirt senior season at Virginia.

"I’m definitely coming back," Scott said. "It’s bad that I just have to sit out the rest of the season. I’m just going to hate it, just watching. But I definitely don’t want to end off my UVA legacy playing half of a season. I’m definitely coming back and trying to stay healthy."

By Steve Yanda  | January 12, 2011; 5:55 AM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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