Via Tar Heel Blue
University of North Carolina men's basketball guard Leslie McDonald underwent meniscus repair and reconstructive surgery on his right anterior cruciate ligament on Wednesday morning. Team orthopaedist Dr. Alex Creighton performed the surgery at UNC Hospitals, and McDonald's recovery time is to be determined.
"I'm pleased with how it went this morning," Creighton said on Wednesday evening. "Everything went well and as we hoped it would. Leslie is doing well and we expect a full recovery."
The surgery itself included reconstruction of the ACL and repair to the meniscus which is usually damaged in these types of injuries. UNC has yet to say if McDonald will return for the 2011-12 season possibly because that is really not known right now. Typically rehab for a surgically repaired ACL runs in the 6-9 months range. Six months from now is the beginning of February and I would hard pressed seeing McDonald rejoining the team at that point. That being said, with Roy Williams it is usually a matter of the medical staff clearing the player, Roy giving his opinion and then leaving the decision up to the player and his family. That is how Tyler Zeller ended up back on the court in 2009 when it was initially thought he would miss the entire season. In fact, what happened with Zeller might be why UNC is hesitant to declare McDonald out for the season.
In my opinion, if McDonald cannot be ready to play by the start of January then I would rather see him redshirt. The deeper you get into the season, the more difficult it is to insert a player into the lineup unless it is for spot duty like Zeller in 2009. The other part of Zeller's decision was his NBA prospects which meant there was no burning need to hold onto the extra year of eligibility. McDonald might be better served playing two more years rather than a partial this year and full the next. However, assuming the knee is healthy, McDonald might have a difficult time staying off the court since UNC will(hopefully) be on national title run.
In the end, the recovery time is going to make this discussion moot. It will likely be in the 6-7 month range which likely precludes a return this season.