The Virginia Cavaliers will be forced to play without star guard Justin Anderson for four to six weeks after the junior guard broke a finger in his left shooting hand during the first half of yesterday’s 54-47 win over the No. 9 ranked Louisville Cardinals. Anderson spent much of the second half on the bench sitting right next to the team’s head trainer with his left hand heavily bandaged.
Head coach Tony Bennett was extremely concerned about the injury following the game, and the school announced Sunday that Anderson will undergo surgery to repair the injury.
Playing without Anderson will be a major test for the 21-1 Cavaliers especially if they hope to maintain their standing as a potential number one seed for March’s NCAA Tournament. Over the course of the season, Anderson averaged 13.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.1 rebounds per game, but his importance to the squad could be seen on both sides of the court. Prior to the injury, many saw Anderson as a potential First Team All-American candidate; however, missing the final four weeks of the regular season could ruin any chances he had at the honors.
If Anderson doesn’t return until the latter of the six-week estimate, he could miss the first or second round of the NCAA Tournament, making Virginia a team prone to a potential early upset. The Cavaliers will begin the home stretch on Wednesday when the squad will travel to N.C. State to square off against the Wolfpack. Lucky for Virginia, the team will play only one more ranked opponent the rest of the season and should cruise into post-season play. Finally, coach Bennett has proven he knows how to teach a team-oriented game and that should not change without Anderson in the lineup. Expect the Cavs to continue their impressive season, but if they hope to advance deep into March, they will need Anderson back at full strength.
*Photo credit to Patrick McDermott, Getty Images