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Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 01/10/2011

Mike Scott to miss remainder of season due to ankle injury

By Steve Yanda

Updated at 11:48 a.m.

Senior forward Mike Scott, Virginia's leading scorer and rebounder, will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing a second surgery on his left ankle. Coach Tony Bennett confirmed Monday during his segment of the weekly ACC coaches' teleconference that Scott is eligible and will apply for a medical redshirt for this season, which would allow him to play in 2011-12.

Scott underwent arthroscopic surgery on the ankle Dec. 16 and returned to game action less than a week later. He missed two games before logging 31 minutes off the bench during Virginia's 59-53 loss Dec. 22 to Seattle. Scott has not played since then.

Bennett said that after the initial surgery Scott had "three or four episodes" during practices in which he began the workouts but could not finish because his ankle "locked up on him." The first surgery was meant to remove loose pieces of cartilage from the ankle. The second surgery will include additional cartilage work and the removal of impinging bone spurs, according to a press release issued Monday by the school's athletic department. Scott's recovery is expected to take 3-4 months.

Despite the loss of Scott, who was averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, Virginia has no plans to lift the redshirt from freshman forward James Johnson, Bennett said. Rather, the Cavaliers will continue to rely on a four-man frontcourt rotation that includes senior forward Will Sherrill, junior center Assane Sene and freshmen forwards Akil Mitchell and Will Regan.

Sherrill suffered a fractured fibula in his right leg Nov. 29 and, though he has played in the past four games, still has not returned to full health. Sene does not offer much production offensively, but has been a more consistent defensive and rebounding presence of late.

Mitchell's playing time has increased dramatically over the past month, due to the injuries of Scott and Sherrill, and his role likely will continue to expand. Regan likely will have to play more in the coming months, as well.

"It’s hard trying to figure out ways now without a key guy, now other guys will have to step up and improve," Bennett said. "Certainly, thinking long-term is always something good, but how do we improve and be as competitive and successful for this year; that’s what’s in front of us.

"It’s tough news with Mike. We feel like he was really playing well and having a good year and things were rounding into shape, but the flip side is, okay, if this can help him be really healthy and if everything goes as hopefully planned, having the potential of him being with us next year is a positive, and you have to look at it that way. In the meantime, we’re trying to get as good as we can and develop."

One player, in particular, that the Cavaliers likely will lean on more during ACC play is Mitchell, who has gone from being a guy the coaching staff considered redshirting this season to a critical member of the team's rotation in little more than two months. Mitchell is averaging 2.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game.

He has averaged 3.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game in the seven contests Virginia has played since Scott's Dec. 16 ankle surgery.

"Akil’s done some nice things," Bennett said. "I’ve been pleasantly surprised or encouraged by seeing him get out there and do some things. He’s being thrust into a role, as is Will Regan at times, playing four guards, that wasn’t planned on. But now we know this is where we’re at, so we’ve got to make the most of it. I hope this will be really helpful for those guys in their future development for our program."

By Steve Yanda  | January 10, 2011; 10:56 AM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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Comments

This will make Virginia that much better next year. Between the injuries to Scott, Sherrill, and Zeglinski, the freshmen have had to shoulder a considerable load. The level of experience being gained right out of the gate this year is already accelerating their growth.

While I want Scott to get well, when the option of a medical redshirt was first reported, I hoped that would be the route taken. I'd love to see Scott close out his career with a season where he can contribute fully. Add to that the fact that the current freshmen will all be another year along, and Scott should be able to see more team success in his final year next year than he would have this year.

Posted by: freakzilla | January 12, 2011 1:36 AM | Report abuse

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