To avoid a dropoff in the post-Derrick Williams era, Arizona needs the remaining pieces of last year’s 30-8 squad to continue thriving. That includes wing Kevin Parrom, their most efficient returning scorer and a reliable perimeter threat.
Only problem is, Parrom’s leg injury from a shooting last month may take a while to heal. Like next summer.
“We are cautiously optimistic based on his progress,” Arizona coach Sean Miller told CBSSports.com. “But we don’t know when he’ll be back – if at all this season.”
If Miller seems pessimistic, he has reason to be. The bullet fragments are still in his leg and Arizona trainer Justin Kokoskie says that after meeting with a litany of doctors that they probably won’t be removed. The risk to further damaging the leg is too great.
And even if the fragments weren’t around, rehabbing a bullet wound is different than usual rehab assignments. From Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star:
“This was a gunshot wound, not an ankle sprain or someone pulling a hamstring,” Kokoskie said. “With that, there’s a tremendous amount of healing that needs to take place. … We are cautiously optimistic but only time will tell.”
What UA does know is that Parrom couldn’t move his leg after the shooting and had muscle exposed from a bullet wound that initially measured over an inch long.
Less than three weeks later, Parrom can walk almost normally, and the wound has shrunk dramatically. The gunshot fragments will probably not be removed because of the risk involved. In addition, the lacerations on Parrom’s hand are no impediment to basketball.
Just as problematic as Parrom’s leg injury is his academic status this season.
As Pascoe notes in a pair of thorough Parrom stories, the junior was in New York last month to visit his mother, who was in the hospital to treat her cancer. That could be a distraction, so Parrom has applied for an NCAA waiver so he can only take nine credits (instead of the 12 minimum) and retain his eligibly.
If he doesn’t get the waiver, does his play suffer as a result? His mom, Lisa Williams, told him to stay in Tucson to rehab and stay in school. But that’s easier said than done by now.
Which might just be why Miller isn’t committing to anything regarding Parrom’s immediate future.
- Parrom’s alleged shooter charged with attempted murder
- After Parrom’s incident, Arizona may need to have ‘the talk’
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.