Suggs Expected To Miss 8 Weeks Following Surgery
Oct. 14, 2011
By Gregg Bell
SEATTLE - Scott Suggs hopped to his car parked just outside Alaska Airlines Arena. He placed his newly assigned crutches on the back seat and managed his right foot, the one in a walking boot, into the driver's side.
The Huskies' senior wing sharpshooter and co-captain had just learned Thursday night he was headed to surgery Friday to repair the foot he had broken earlier this week. He already knew he'd be out eight weeks, that he probably will miss the first eight games of this season - including the one Washington scheduled specifically for him, his homecoming at Saint Louis in early November.
Yet he still had the big-picture perspective as one of the Huskies' two scholarship seniors.
"I'll be all right. Eight weeks," Suggs said, knowing championships aren't won in November and December.
And he still had his sense of humor. Asked how he was going to be able to drive his car with his native Missouri plates still on it, Suggs smiled, looked at his walking boot and joked, "I'm the world's greatest driver."
"Plus," he said, "it's an automatic."
"Automatic" was what it started feeling a bit like last season when the 6-foot-6 Suggs was draining 3-point shots. His 45-percent success rate from deep was third-best in the Pac-10, and that is what fellow wings Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox will now be trying to replicate with Suggs out for the next two months.
"He knows our system backwards and forwards and he was in great shape. So when he does come back, it won't take him long to come back," coach Lorenzo Romar said moments before UW's first official preseason practice Friday evening. "The tough part about it is he was playing so well. He was playing with so much confidence. And it was his senior year. You don't want anyone to miss any practice his senior year."
Suggs played in 31 games as a junior and averaged 7.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. He is the Huskies' third-leading returning scorer.
"We do have depth, fortunately, that way," Romar said of the wing position. "But again, you're talking about a senior captain, and he was playing his best basketball. So you lose that. And he was our leading shooter, shooting 45 percent from the 3-point line. You lose that. You lose a defender. You lose a guy who's experienced with know-how and was playing really well.
"In spite of our depth, that's still losing a lot as far as I'm concerned. But he'll be back."
Husky team doctor Chris Wahl inserted a screw in Suggs' fifth metatarsal in that right foot that the senior said "popped" after working out Tuesday. Romar reminded that this procedure is not like the condition that ended forward Tyreese Breshers' career at UW last season. And it's not akin to the anterior cruciate ligament repair Abdul Gaddy had in his knee last January. That kept the point guard from leading the Huskies through their run to another Pac-10 tournament championship and third round of the NCAA tournament last spring.
"Whenever something like this happens, guys are down. (He's) one of their family members," Romar said of Suggs. "But it's not like Tyreese, who couldn't play anymore. It's not like Abdul, season-ending.
"Scott will be back."
Suggs' injury could lead to a lineup early in the season that includes Gaddy, freshman Tony Wroten and Ross all starting in a three-guard set, with 7-footer Aziz N'Diaye and forward Darnell Gant, UW's other scholarship senior, down low.
"Terrence and C.J. and our other guards -- we approach everything as a committee," Romar said when asked who fills Suggs' void. "Other guys will have to step up and do those things."
Suggs shook his head and sighed Thursday night when reminded of the Nov. 20 game at Saint Louis, which is about 45 minutes east of where he grew up in Washington, Mo. He will still make that trip home, but obviously won't be playing in front of a huge throng of family and friends.
"The only reason we're playing that game is for him," Romar said. "I know a lot of people were excited to see him play. It's amazing, the timing of it."
The Huskies hope to have Suggs back soon after their week-long trip to New York for games against Marquette on Dec. 6 and Duke on Dec. 10 at Madison Square Garden. Romar thinks with Suggs' knowledge of his system and the fact he will begin conditioning drills in a few weeks, it shouldn't take long to get his senior back in the game rotation once he resumes practicing.
"He won't have to learn anything we're doing. He knows it," Romar said. "It'll take him a few days -- I mean literally a few days probably to being back in the right condition."
BUZZER BEATERS: The Huskies were heading to Olympia, Wash., Friday night for what has become an annual weekend retreat to begin the preseason. This year's is at The Evergreen State College -- recent ones have been at nearby Saint Martin's University in Lacey. The Huskies will practice twice in Olympia Saturday and once Sunday before returning to campus. The "bonding" trip, as Romar calls it, usually also includes a team bowling or movie outing. ... Romar returned to Seattle Friday after traveling to New York for a dinner with coaches from Missouri, Villanova and Marquette benefitting the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research. The Huskies' game against Marquette is part of this season's Jimmy V Classic doubleheader, named after the national-championship coach at North Carolina State who died of cancer.