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Georgetown's Chris Wright has surgery on broken hand, expected back for the NCAA tournament

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 24, 2011; 11:50 PM

Georgetown guard Chris Wright, who was injured in Wednesday's 58-46 loss to Cincinnati, had surgery to repair the third metacarpal bone in his left (non-shooting) hand on Thursday morning. He is expected to return later this season, according to Coach John Thompson III.

Although Georgetown did not provide an exact timetable, it appears the Hoyas' point guard - arguably Georgetown's most indispensable player - will miss the Big East tournament, which begins March 8 at Madison Square Garden. However, Wright could return for the first round of the NCAA tournament about a week later, a time frame an orthopedic surgeon agreed is reasonable.

"You have to talk to the athlete, and as long as the athlete, the coach, the family, the trainer are all on board and realize that by returning early there is an increased risk of re-injury, I think it's reasonable," said Mark Adickes, a former Washington Redskins offensive lineman and orthopedic surgeon at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

Adickes does not have direct knowledge of Wright's injury but is familiar with similar cases. He said it's likely Wright will still be in some pain three weeks from now but could contribute, perhaps with a splint on his hand.

"With the fracture immobilized with the surgery, by that time there will be healing taking place," he added. "You could put some sort of a splint on his two middle fingers. But that would make ballhandling somewhat difficult."

In the coming weeks, though, the injury figures to pose major challenge for the Hoyas, who, before the loss to the Bearcats, had won nine of their previous 10 games and were in the conversation for a high seed in the NCAA tournament's field of 68.

Wright is the Hoyas' second-leading scorer, averaging 13.1 points. He also leads the team in assists (5.4 per game) and is the team's emotional leader.

It's unclear who will replace the senior, but it's possible Thompson will lean more on guards Austin Freeman and Jason Clark and swingman Hollis Thompson, who started the first 19 games this season.

Wright's absence also could thrust freshman Markel Starks and sophomore Vee Sanford into bigger roles. Starks, the Hoyas' backup point guard, is expected to replace Wright next season but has averaged only 8.1 minutes per game as a freshman. Sanford, meantime, has averaged only 6.6 minutes and did not play in five games.

Wright was injured early in the second half of the Hoyas' humbling loss to Cincinnati. After committing a turnover, he dived after the ball and appeared to be injured when he jammed his hand against Bearcats guard Cashmere Wright in the ensuing scramble.

Twice, Wright attempted to return to the game with his wrist and hand wrapped, but he was unable to continue.

It wouldn't, however, be a surprise to Adickes if Wright returns at some point in the postseason.

"Obviously, I played professional sports myself, and sometimes players think it's worth the risk," said Adickes, who played six seasons in the NFL with the Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs. "If you've got a senior, very often, depending on the stakes, they're going put themselves at a little more risk in order to play.

"Most athletes with a chance to play in the NCAA tournament are going to take that risk."

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