Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb on Wednesday, a source told NBCSports.com.
Nunn, a lefty, is expected to be out for eight weeks, which will keep him on the shelf until mid-December.
The college basketball season begins on Nov. 13th. Big Ten regular season play starts for the Illini on Dec. 30th while the Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri is held on Dec. 23rd. If all goes according to plan, Nunn should be back in the lineup by then, but he will likely miss non-conference battles against Providence and Notre Dame as well as a tournament that features UAB, Iowa State and Virginia Tech. Illinois plays UAB, one of the nation’s best mid-major programs, in the opening round of that event.
Nunn averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 boards for Illinois last season. He’ll be a starter when he returns to full health. Illinois also lost starting point guard Tracy Abrams to a torn ACL earlier this offseason. On the bright side, freshmen like D.J. Williams and Aaron Jordan are going to be plenty of experienced come Big Ten play.