The Wisconsin men’s basketball got through the 2011-’12 season almost entirely healthy, but this year the Badgers have already suffered two serious injuries before the regular season has even started. The most recent and most severe of these injuries happened at practice Saturday morning, when junior guard Josh Gasser tore his ACL.
Two days after being rewarded by head coach Bo Ryan with the starting point guard position, Gasser’s season was ended by what he called a “freak” injury.
“I just got a steal, was going in transition and went in for a layup, just did a little sidestep going in for a layup, nothing out of the ordinary, and it just kind of gave out on me,” he said.
The junior guard will have surgery Tuesday to repair his torn ligament. Gasser believes he will be back for next year, but he said he is not going to rush into it. In the meantime, however, he is going to do anything he can to help the team.
“I’m going to do everything I can to help us. [Ryan] expects me to. He already talked to me about still being a leader out there,” Gasser said. “The big thing that I think we’re going to miss is a vocal guy at the guard position, a leader who has been there and played a little bit. That’s something that I can still contribute to even if I’m not out there.”
Gasser’s replacement at the point guard spot has not been decided by Ryan yet, but it will likely be between redshirt freshman George Marshall, sophomore Traevon Jackson or junior Ben Brust. The favorite at the moment, however, seems to be Marshall, who started the Badgers’ private scrimmage against DePaul last Sunday and has looked impressive in practice.
Gasser believes the team will run smoothly without him offensively, no matter who is at the point. It is defensively where he believes he will truly be missed. As one of the Badger’s best shutdown defenders last season, Gasser drew the assignment of guarding the opposition’s best perimeter player week in and week out.
“Ben’s got to be more willing, George is obviously kind of small, so I think I’m definitely going to talk to [Jackson] to get him to step into that role,” he said. “When he wants to, he’s one of the better defenders on our team and he’s willing to do it. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s physical. He’s just got to buy into the system and do what’s asked of him and he’ll fill the role just fine.”
Ryan and his staff will get another opportunity to evaluate the new backcourt Sunday when Wisconsin hosts its annual Red/White Scrimmage at the Kohl Center.