Shabazz Napier was expected by many pundits to have a breakout season in 2011-2012, taking over the role of the primary ball-handler with Kemba Walker headed to the NBA.
That, frankly, didn’t happen.
While Napier put up some impressive performances against UConn’s cupcakes early in the seasons, he spent the majority of the Big East season playing dreadfully inconsistent basketball. He would look like a potential all-american one game and follow it up with the kind of play that would lead UConn fans to question why he was on the floor. Napier scored more than 20 points on 11 different occasions as a sophomore. He also had six or fewer points on 11 different occasions. There was one stretch that spanned three games where Napier missed 18 straight field goal attempts.
And that’s before he vocalized his concerns about the lack of leadership the Huskies had.
UConn fans were hoping this season would be different with Shabazz, and it still may be, but according to a release from the University on Monday afternoon, he’s been dealing with a stress fracture in his foot this offseason. It was bad enough that he needed surgery and will be out for a few weeks:
The fracture has been causing Napier discomfort for a few months and was the reason Napier decided to leave the Puerto Rican National Team after making the squad last spring. Rather than play hard on it all summer and possibly jeopardize his upcoming college season, Napier returned home for treatment.
According to the UConn medical staff, conservative treatment did not improve Napier’s condition, leading to the decision for surgery. Doctors said the operation was successful and Napier is expected to make a full recovery.
So after having a summer spent trying to heal up a bum foot, Napier had to eventually get surgery on it that will keep him out of action throughout September. That’s not exactly promising. There is some good news buried in that release, however: Napier “should be 100 percent healed by the time official practice begins on Oct. 13.”
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.