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January 5, 2011

Huskies guard Gaddy out for the season

He heard a pop. The result was a boom that hit Abdul Gaddy and the rest of the Washington Huskies.

Gaddy, the Huskies' starting sophomore point guard, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee at practice Tuesday. The severity of the injury and announcement that Gaddy would miss the rest of the season came Wednesday.

The injury occurred toward the end of practice in a scrimmage.

"Driving to the basket I took a long hard step," Gaddy said. "I heard a little pop. It hurt real bad. The first thing I thought was to try and get up, but I couldn't extend my knee."

When it happened, coaches and players were worried, but did not know the extent of the injury.

Senior guard Isaiah Thomas, who hails from Tacoma along with Gaddy, said he thought it was just cramps.

"He has cramps sometimes," Thomas said. "I was right next to him and I didn't think it was that bad."

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar echoed that and compared the injury to the one suffered by Venoy Overton a few weeks ago when he hyper-extended his knee in practice.

"I was hopeful when he (Overton) fell it wasn't an ACL,' Romar said. "Well when Abdul fell yesterday I was hopeful for the same thing, but there was definitely something wrong."

Romar would not say who would start in place of Gaddy. When asked about if Overton would slide into Gaddy's starting spot, Romar explained: "We have three wings: Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross. Any of them could be in there. Most teams only have one point guard and then a backup."

Overton has battled his own injuries from the hyper-extended knee to hamstring problems. Romar thinks those injuries are behind him.

"I think he's finally back healthy," Romar said. "I just think he needs to string together a number of practices to just get into a good rhythm."

Overton has primarily come off the bench in his career and both Thomas and Romar said they like the energy he brings from the bench, but that he is "capable" of starting.
Thomas said that Overton is one of the guys who will have to step up.

"We've got some guys that will step out of the blue, but it's going to surprise you guys," he said.

Romar was firm when asked about the possibility of removing the freshman Desmond Simmons' redshirt to have another body.

"No, we would never do anything like that," he said.

The Huskies, who just swept the Los Angeles schools on the road for only the third time in school history, are still trying to remain upbeat about a season with big expectations. Washington, which slipped back into the Associated Press' Top 25 at No. 23 this week, is 2-0 in the conference and 10-3 overall.

Washington, the preseason conference favorite, is at home this week against the Oregon schools, beginning with the Ducks on Thursday night.

"We lost a big part of our team, but it's not the end of the season, it's the start of the new season in the Pac-10," Thomas said.

Thomas, the team's most visible team leader, knows that he will have to continue to have a big impact on games and says he will do what the coaches ask him to do.

"If they need me to score more, pass more," Thomas said, "I'm just going to go out there and play basketball."

Gaddy is coming off a disappointing freshman year, but had improved and was coming into his own this season.

The 6-foot-3 Bellarmine Prep product led the Pac-10 in assist-turnover ratio this season and was seventh in the conference in assists. He averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 assists per game for a team that hasn't depended on him to score because of so many other options.

"He worked so hard in the offseason to get to where he was having a really good season, helping the basketball team and doing something he loves," Romar said.

Romar and Thomas could not stress enough how they were more concerned with Gaddy than who would start in his place.

"He is like a brother," said Thomas, who spent the summer working out with Gaddy in Tacoma. "It's sad that it happens to such a great person."

Gaddy's surgery date is expected to be in the next couple of weeks.

Gaddy has received encouragement from many people, including "Tone Tone (2011 Huskies recruit Tony Wroten Jr.), Jamal Crawford and Cameron Dollar." Both Gaddy and Romar believe he will be ready to go in the fall.

"I'll definitely come back (ready)," Gaddy said. "I'll probably be better."

The Huskies now have to focus on Oregon and Oregon State, and the rest of the season, without a key contributor.

"The guys will rally," Romar said. "Everybody loves Abdul. I think we'll rally up and be ready to play."


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