There may not be a more valuable player in the country than Jahii Carson, the Arizona State point guard that doubles as a Preseason All-American.
Carson is the difference-maker for the Sun Devils. As a freshman, he not only averaged 18.5 points and 5.1 assists, but he also was the the guy that Herb Sendek built a revamped system around. Arizona State played a faster brand of basketball because they may have the fastest player in the country running the show.
By now, you should know all that, but I bring it up to prove a point — if Arizona State is going to make the NCAA tournament this season, they need Carson on the floor and at 100%. But as practices kicked off this week, Carson wasn’t.
Carson has what Arizona State is terming a “stress reaction” in his right tibia, which more or less means that Carson is dealing with shin splints. He has been since late last season. As he told Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic, he takes part in ball-handling and shooting drills, but “before we start picking it up, Coach decided to give me a little rest.”
It’s more of a precautionary measure than anything.
“It’s a progressive thing,” Sendek told Haller. “He has flat feet, so we’re going to fit him with some orthotics. The good news is we’re getting out ahead of it. We’re being precautionary. If we had a game tonight, he could play.
“But we’re going to play it safe. We’re going to get it calmed down and then he should be fine.”
This is the right move by Arizona State. The season is six months long, and Carson is going to be playing a lot of minutes during that time. Shin splits and stress reactions are injuries that come with being overworked. They only get better with rest.
The first game is still five weeks away. Getting Carson back to 100% is more important than getting him in the mix in the first couple of practices of the season.