Set to continue his career after transferring from Indiana, Max Hoetzel has seen a setback put his San Diego State debut in question. But the sophomore-to-be resumed non-contact work at Aztecs practice recently, Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports reports.
However, the knee injury that Hoetzel suffered last month in practice has limited him to non-contact work, per Rothstein, with the forward’s status for the Nov. 14 game against Gonzaga uncertain. It’s likely Hoetzel is going to miss time.
His viability as an off-the-bench contributor hinges on the troublesome knee, on which the 6-foot-9 third-year player has had three surgeries. Hoetzel tore his ACL while in high school, then underwent meniscus surgery while rehabbing from that and had a third procedure done while redshirting for the Aztecs as an intra-division transfer.
So, this poses an issue for Hoetzel’s career, even if the Aztecs — who have become one of the west coast’s most consistent operations — can potentially withstand the loss. The Aztecs aren’t lacking in depth at power forward, with Zylan Cheatham and Malik Pope present, but they do not have a stretch 4-type player without Hoetzel.
He was used as a deep bench player with the Hoosers, averaging 7.7 minutes per night during the 2014-15 season. Hoetzel averaged just 2.4 points per game. However, the dual-U.S. and Germany citizen was a proficient scorer in high school in Massachusetts, averaging more than 16 points per night and once knocking down nine 3-pointers in a game.
Steve Fisher’s Aztecs have been to six of the past seven NCAA tournaments, building on the Kawhi Leonard-aided success of the early 2010s. San Diego State did not advance to the 2016 big dance but still reeled off 28 wins. They return most of that team and will be expected to return to the tourney this season, with or without Hoetzel’s contributions.