It had already become clear that Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon’s return from offseason surgery was not going as planned. The sophomore had not yet been cleared to practice more than eight months after undergoing a corrective procedure to repair a broken bone in his left foot.
So on Wednesday, the Cavaliers officially decided to shut him down for the foreseeable future. Virginia Coach Tony Bennett announced Brogdon would redshirt the 2012-13 season in order to further recover from the injury.
“Malcolm is an important part of the program’s future, so the plan to redshirt him will allow for his foot to fully recover,” Bennett said in a statement. “He will continue to push hard in his recovery during this season.”
Brogdon was expected to be a key cog on this year’s team after averaging 6.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game as a freshman last season. The 6-5 guard originally suffered the injury on Feb. 17, a day before the Cavaliers defeated Maryland, but continued to play through it for three games. He did, however, sit out the final two games of the regular season, as well as the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
But Bennett hoped Brogdon would be one of Virginia’s top threats on the offensive end and take over ballhandling duties when senior point guard Jontel Evans needed a rest this season. That plan, though, has gone awry through the first six games of the year.
On top of Brogdon’s health issues, Evans has been limited as he recovers from his own foot surgery. He played three minutes in Virginia’s loss to Delaware two weeks ago, but Bennett said in an interview this week that the team decided to take a more conservative approach when Evans complained of soreness after that initial outing.
Evans did not play in Virginia’s wins over Lamar and North Texas last week, but Bennett is hopeful he can contribute Wednesday night when the Cavaliers take on Wisconsin as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“He’s practiced the last couple days and he’s been okay,” Bennett said Monday night. “It’s kind of how he responds when he practices, so my hope is he’ll be available. … He’s still got some rust to shake off and conditioning. It depends on his endurance, both his lungs and the foot. It’s got to be built back up.
“He got a little sore, so we decided to take a more conservative approach and let’s see how he responds to going harder at practice for longer stints. He’s responded better and better. He’s not up to full reps yet, but he’s doing more and more and hasn’t had too many issues. It’s been good soreness. My hope is that he’ll be okay when we practice [Tuesday] and he’ll be available. We’ll see to what extent he can handle and play.”
With both Evans and Brogdon out, the Cavaliers have been relying on redshirt freshman Teven Jones and junior shooting guard Joe Harris to handle the bulk of the point guard duties.