Huskies sophomore point guard Abdul Gaddy suffered a knee injury Tuesday in practice and will miss the rest of the season.
Abdul Gaddy let coach Lorenzo Romar ask the questions inside the trainer’s room when Washington team physician Jonathan Drezner told them the results of a magnetic resonance imaging exam on the sophomore guard’s injured left knee.
They knew something was seriously wrong after Gaddy fell to the Edmunson Pavilion floor and yelled in pain after a layup attempt toward the end of Tuesday’s practice.
The best-case scenario, they hoped, was that Gaddy hyperextended his knee, which would cause him to miss a week or two.
When Drezner said it was a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, Gaddy was momentarily stunned into silence.
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“I heard ACL before, but I really didn’t know what that meant,” Gaddy said. “I just wanted to know when I could play and he said you can’t play this year. That’s the toughest thing, not being able to play.”
Gaddy will undergo season-ending surgery in a few weeks before beginning a six- to nine-month rehabilitation.
He has spoken with Tony Wroten Jr., the Garfield High senior and UW signee, and Jamal Crawford, the former Rainier Beach High star and Atlanta Hawks standout, who sustained similar injuries.
Gaddy also received words of encouragement from Seattle University coach Cameron Dollar, the former UW assistant who recruited him. Dollar noted that Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers missed his rookie year and this season is one of the NBA’s brightest stars.
“Those guys are real supportive,” Gaddy said. “They said you’ll come back stronger than ever.”
Gaddy described the injury as “another bump in the road” in a highly scrutinized UW career that was on an upswing after a rocky beginning.
The 6-foot-3 guard, who starred at Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep, leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.1 (49 assists/16 turnovers). His 3.8 assists per game is seventh-best in the conference.
He’s dramatically improved since a tough freshman season.
His scoring average (8.5 points per game from 3.9) and rebounding average (2.5 from 1.4) are better. And his shooting is improved, 50 percent on field goals, 40.6 percent on three-pointers and 81.8 percent on free throws this season, compared to 40 percent, 15 percent and 56.4 percent as a freshman.
Despite a recent three-game scoring slump, Gaddy was playing better than he ever had at Washington.
“I thought I was really finding my niche here,” he said. “I thought I was playing well up to this point. I’ll just come back and start from where I left off.”
Until then, the 23rd-ranked Huskies are grappling with a sizable hole in the lineup. Gaddy started the past 42 games and Romar said he was unsure who would take his place among the starters.
Junior co-captain Isaiah Thomas didn’t know who would start, but he said senior Venoy Overton, who has started 35 games during his UW career, needs to step up in a major way.
“Not to put anybody out there, but Venoy has got to pick it up,” Thomas said. “That’s the main guy. He’s going to take his position. He’s got to pick it up and go off of what Gaddy’s done this year.”
Overton has been saddled with injuries this season, including a hyperextend knee, bruised tailbone and pulled hamstring.
“It’s just getting about that time that I am 100 percent,” he said. “I still have nicks here and there, but legs-wise I’m at 100 percent. It’s not an injury that should slow me down in my speed or quickness or anything. I just feel little things like my shoulder, little stuff. Not that big.”
Romar doesn’t have much time to make a decision. Washington (10-3, 2-0 Pac-10) hosts Oregon (7-7, 0-2) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
He said other candidates to replace Gaddy include junior Scott Suggs, redshirt freshman C.J. Wilcox and freshman Terrence Ross.
Romar described losing Gaddy as “a big blow for our team.”
The Huskies have just nine scholarship players on the roster because Tyreese Breshers retired from basketball before the season due to an undisclosed injury, freshman Desmond Simmons chose to redshirt and UW had a scholarship to give before the season.
Despite the limited numbers, Romar said Washington still has enough players.
“Our depth is fine,” he said. “A part of your family is down. That is more concerning than being able to put bodies on the floor. I don’t think it’s a depth issue.
“Abdul just happened to be, in my opinion, probably the best at settling us down and getting us into the offense. With Isaiah and Venoy, being older and the way they’ve been playing, I think we can be OK.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org