Tough break for a kid who has already been fighting with a sore knee and lost a grandmother with whom he was very close two months ago.
University of North Carolina freshman forward Reggie Bullock will miss the rest of the season due to an injury he suffered during the Maryland game on February 27, head coach Roy Williams announced today.
Bullock tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee. He will undergo arthroscopic surgery in the near future.
He is sixth on the team in scoring at 6.1 points per game and third in three-pointers with 29. The Kinston, N.C., native scored in double figures seven times, including 18 points against Clemson on January 18th and 16 at Boston College on February 1st. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Week following his performance in the 75-65 win over Clemson.
"I am just heart-broken for Reggie," says Williams. "He had surgery on the same knee last year and that has bothered him at various times throughout the season. There's no doubt that is why he has struggled somewhat with his shot over the last few weeks, but at the same time he's played really well defensively, helped us on the boards and often gave us a nice spark off the bench.
"He's had a great attitude all year. Plus, he's gone through so much with the loss of his grandmother in January, whom he was so very close to. Every person on this team will support Reggie and help him get ready for next year."
While this was a new injury to his knee, it had been clear for a few games now Bullock was struggling with his shot and even running the court. Bullock's production since hitting four three pointers at Boston College had fallen off dramatically to the tune of 6-36. It was obvious Bullock's struggles have move beyond a slump with his knees obviously being a factor in his ability to play. The good news in the long term is the torn ligament will be repaired using arthroscopic surgery which is a much faster recovery time.
In terms of team impact, this simply shortens the rotation to 2005 levels. Justin Watts will likely see a little under 10 minutes per game but the rest of the minutes will go to a seven man rotation. Leslie McDonald will see more minutes off the bench and UNC will run some three guard lineups with McDonald at SF. Other than that, if Bullock wasn't producing this is not a huge loss outside of the depth issue. In that respect foul trouble could be problematic. The one downside is you sort of held out hope Bullock would find his shot again and have a another hot shooting night like he did versus Boston College or Clemson only this time in a crucial game. Given how the last month had gone, I am not sure that was going to be the case.