Ben Howland and his UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team caught a bad break back in April when it was discovered that star freshman Kyle Anderson would need surgery to repair his injured left thumb.
Thankfully for UCLA fans, that was then and this is now.
Kevin Foster of the Los Angeles Times reported recently that Anderson is pretty much good to go now. Here’s what Foster wrote back on July 30:
Anderson, a 6-foot-8 guard who was ranked among the top high school players, had surgery on his left thumb in April and has been limited during practices. He will be able to rejoin full-contact drills as the Bruins prepare for a three-game tour in China that begins Aug. 22.
The Bruins began practicing for the China trip Sunday.
This is nothing but good news for the Bruins. Just by reading this bit of news, one can interpret that Anderson’s surgery and rehab went well, without any setbacks.
Having a healthy Anderson back in time for the team’s aforementioned exhibition Chinese tour is crucial for a young Bruins team that will likely need some time to build up chemistry. Obviously, had Anderson missed the Chinese trip due to his injury, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.
But having him take the court with the likes of fellow freshmen Shabazz Muhammad, Tony Parker and Jordan Adams, allows the chemistry-building to begin early.
Now, Howland and Bruins fans alike must hope that Anderson doesn’t end up re-injuring the thumb, either while in China or at any other point during his freshman season.
The Bruins got lucky as far as the timing of Anderson’s injury was concerned. You never want to see one of your more important players have surgery for an injury.
But if they have to go under the knife, doing it early in the college basketball offseason is the perfect time. That was the case for Anderson, as he had the surgery back in late April, roughly a month after the Final Four wrapped up.
But if Anderson hurts the thumb again during the season, then that timing will be awful. Anderson will be expected to be a major contributor to UCLA’s postseason hopes this upcoming season. Muhammad will likely be the star attraction. But in order for UCLA to have success, Muhammad will need help from healthy, talented teammates—like Anderson.