Craig (Big Sky) Shelton, Georgetown's 6-foot 7 power forward, will be out of the Hoya basketball lineup at least two to three weeks with a broken right wrist suffered Monday night against Maryland. He shoots left-handed.
Ironically, the injury to the former Dunbar High star occured in the same game in which he demonstrated he had recovered from a knee-cap that sidelined him most of his freshman season. He scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds in the 91-87 loss to the Terrapins.
Shelton's injury sidetracks coach John Thompson's hopes for an improved inside game this season. Fellow sophomore Mike Frazier, who was scheduled to start the season at center, has been hampered by foot problems. He played only five minutes in the first two games.
Thompson was planning to start 6-foot-11, 225-pound Junior Tom Scates at center and move 6-foot-9 Ed Hopkins to Shelton's power forward slot for last night's game against Dickinson College.
Shelton suffered the injury in a collision with Maryland's Jo Jo Hunter midway in the second half of the Tipoff Tournament final.
He finished the game and he did not notify the Georgetown coaches of his injury until he suffered pain and swelling on Tuesday. He had X-rays during practice that day.
When he walked back in the back in the gym from the doctor with a cast on his wrist," said Thompson, "it seemed it somebody took a spear and ran it through the heart of everyone on there."
Shelton was reported depressed about the injury, although he dressed for the end of practice and ran wind sprints with his teammates.
It's a psychological problem," Thompson said."He needed to get into a big game and play well, and he realized it. And he played well against Maryland. Now he's got to go through the whole rehabilitation process again."
If Shelton is out two to three weeks, as his doctors predict, he should be available for the Holidays Festival Dec. 27 in New York. The Hoyas play Holy Cross in the first round.
He would miss five games. Two of them - Saturday night at St. Bonaventure and a likely Dec. 11 matchup with Georgia in the Hoya Invitational final - are contests the Hoyas need to build credentials in an effort for a third trip to the NCAA playoffs in four years.
Thompson is not optimistic about the doctor's estimate while Shelton's nonshooting wrist heals.
"Last year they kept telling us certain times, but he did not come back then." Thompson said in reference to Shelton's recovery from the broken kneecap suffered in a high-school allstar game in April, 1976.
"This is a very hurting thing in many ways," said Thompson, "to craig personally and to the team. It seems like somebody up there is testing Craig's intestinal fortitude."