The Illinois men’s basketball program has started slowly showing signs of a turnaround under coach John Groce, but is now dealing with two injuries.
Speaking to reporters, including Marcus Jackson of The News-Gazette, Groce stated that junior guard Jaylon Tate is recovering from a concussion and sophomore forward Leron Black will miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from knee surgery.
#Illini coach Groce: Jaylon Tate coming back rom a concussion. Leron Black having knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks.
— Marcus Jackson (@MarcusJ_823) October 8, 2015
Tate, a former three-star recruit from Chicago, only averaged 3.6 points and 2.9 assists per game last season, but played 20.4 minutes per contest and was expected to take a step forward in the 2015-16 season. Black, a four-star talent from Memphis, posted five points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season and was also expected to see more than the 14.8 minutes he averaged last year.
These injuries shouldn’t heavily affect either man’s availability for the start of the season, but the hard truth is that concussions can sometimes take a while to recover from fully, and knees are also tricky. Fortunately, the college basketball season is a long one and if both Tate and Black miss the first few games of the season, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Illinois’s tournament hopes.
Illinois opens the season in Springfield, Illinois against the Atlantic Sun’s North Florida Ospreys.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports