When the Virginia Cavaliers lost star forward Justin Anderson to a broken finger in his left shooting hand, many fans and analysts alike questioned whether or not the Cavaliers had the talent to maintain the success of their outstanding 2014-15 season. Head coach Tony Bennett proved to the nation that his squad is for real, going undefeated in Anderson’s absence topping seven difficult ACC opponents. Now, as the team continues to hit its peak, fans had hoped Anderson likely return to the floor for crunch time as the Cavs aim to capture both the regular season and tournament crowns.
With a tough test in Louisville on Saturday, fans will be disappointed to find that Anderson won’t be able to suit up.
According to the Daily Progress, Anderson, who was expected to miss between four and six weeks, was cleared to return to practice and return to “game related activities,” but that news was undermined by the latest info out of Anderson’s camp. The junior had an appendectomy on Thursday and will not be able to play against Louisville, but could return as early as next week, in time for conference play.
“It wasn’t a ruptured appendix and they got it early, so that’s good news,” Cavs coach Tony Bennett told ESPN.com. “But it’s way too early to give a timetable. It depends on how he responds. The next few days will determine how long he misses.”
Through the first three months, the Maryland native put up All-American caliber numbers and will be a key component to Virginia’s chances in making a deep run into April.
“It’s such a tough break for him,” Bennett said. “There was a chance he was going to come back on Saturday. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and finding ways.”
With Anderson still riding the pine, junior Evan Nolte will continue to start in his place; Nolte is averaging 6.3 points per game since Anderson went down on Feb. 7, and helped the Wahoos clinch their second-consecutive regular season crown.
*Section Photo credit to Grant Halverson, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mike Ingalls, VA Sabre