Illinois basketball will have an early season injury to monitor going into the 2016 season as one of their top returning players underwent surgery this weekend. That is, a surgery that will have one of the Illini’s key contributors out for up to two months as the start of the college basketball season nears.
According to Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, Illinois’ shooting guard Jalen Coleman-Lands will be out for at least the next six to eight weeks with a broken hand.
Coleman-Lands was a key player for the Illini as a freshman, playing 26.1 minutes per game in his first season in the Big 10 before opting to stay in school for his sophomore year. A return that should give the Illini a boost once Coleman-Lands is healthy as the talented guard should be one of the team’s key scorers in 2016.
An efficient scorer, Coleman-Lands’ numbers were very impressive for a freshman last season.
His 10.3 points per game on 41 percent shooting give hope to the Illini that one of their top recruits can develop into a top player in the Big 10 going forward. Head coach John Groce likely has plans to increase the guard’s role in the offense this season after the Illini’s disappointing 15-19 record last year.
Luckily for Coleman-Lands and the Illini, this injury and surgery are coming in early September as the injury timetable indicates an early season return. Following the procedure and a six to eight week recovery, expect the Illini to be cautious with the up-and-comer during their early season schedule.