There may not be an injury this season more devastating that the acl tear suffered by Virginia Tech’s JT Thompson on Wednesday.
The redshirt senior will be forced to miss his second straight full season. In September of 2010, he tore the acl in his left knee. This time it was the acl in his right knee. Its feasible that Thompson would be able to be eligible for a sixth year of eligibility should he apply for it, but the power forward graduates from Tech in December. There’s no guarantee he’s interested in continuing to play.
“I’m deeply disappointed for JT,” Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said in a statement. “To think of all he has been through, it’s disheartening that bad things happen to good people. Our main focus right now is his health and preparing him for his graduation this December.
“My heart goes out to JT. He has been a model student-athlete, despite all the obstacles that he has faced. He was back to playing at or above the level we had expected of him following last season’s surgery. Now is not the time to discuss a sixth year.”
No team in the country has had a worse string of luck that the Hokies. After losing the first three years of Malcolm Delaney’s terrific career to bouts with the bubble, last season was supposed to be the year Tech finally reversed the curse. But between Thompson’s acl injury, Allan Chaney’s heart condition and the injuries suffered by Dorenzo Hudson and Cadarian Raines, Greenberg was left with decimated roster. For the fourth time in four years, the Hokies 2010-2011 season ended with a trip to the NIT.
Making the injury all the more frustrating is that this year, Tech had a chance to sneak up on people. Hudson is healthy and will be paired with the underrated Erick Green to form a better-than-you-think back court. With Victor Davila back to patrol the paint, Thompson — a physical and athletic 6’6″ forward known more for his defense and blue-collar mentality than the 7.3 ppg and 4.6 rpg he averaged — was the perfect fit to slide in at the four spot.
With Thompson out, expect Raines and Jarell Eddie to see more minutes. Freshmen CJ Barksdale and Dorian Finney-Smith are going to be thrown to the Wolves early and often as well.
Its a tough break for Greenburg an the Hokies, but if there is a silver lining, its that this team is accustomed to dealing with tough breaks.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.