All-world freshman Shabazz Muhammad injured his shoulder during practice on Wednesday, putting on hold what should be a return to elite status for the UCLA Bruins.
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8:18 p.m. by Tyler Conway
Bruins fans can breathe easy, as superstar freshman Shabazz Muhammad's injured shoulder will not require surgery. Nonetheless, he is expected to miss between two and four weeks, according to CBS Sports' Gary Parrish:
An MRI revealed that UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad's injured right shoulder will not require surgery. But coach Ben Howland told CBSSports.com on Thursday that the 6-foot-5 wing is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks and maybe up to four.
While the injury may result in a few missed games, head coach Ben Howland has to be happy his young star isn't out for a longer period of time.
---End of Update---
The news comes from the Los Angeles Times' Chris Foster:
#UCLA frosh Shabazz Muhammad injured his shoulder in practice today. UCLA officials are awaiting the results of an MRI.— chris foster (@cfosterlatimes) October 25, 2012
Obviously, the news of the MRI could swing this potentially critical news either way, but if the Bruins could lose one player, it would be anyone but Muhammad, no matter his age.
The No. 2 recruit in the class of 2012—depending on who you ask—is as gifted as they come. He has a body (6'6", 215 pounds) that would immediately make him an ideal wing player in the NBA. He's unstoppable on the fast break, deadly from mid-range, can guard multiple positions and rebounds like a big man.
Muhammad could stand to improve his jump shot, but if you're looking for this year's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, look no further than the Las Vegas native.
Of course, while replacing the elite scoring option would be an unwanted task, the Bruins, most notably because of their depth, are well suited to at least make due without their freshman.
If Muhammad misses any time, who is most important in his absence?
Kyle Anderson, another top recruit, is set to play point guard, but at 6'7" with a unique skill set, he can easily move to the wing. Should he do that, North Carolina transfer Larry Drew would step in at the point.
Also roaming the wings with the capability of logging major minutes are Norman Powell, Tyler Lamb and freshman Jordan Adams.
Throw in some fantastic depth down low that features Travis and David Wear, Josh Smith (assuming he hasn't eaten himself into a coma by now) and yet another impact recruit, Tony "My College Announcement Press Conference is Still Going on" Parker, and the Bruins should be able to survive without Muhammad.
They just don't want to.
Nonetheless, this is all pure speculation as the severity of the small forward's injury is still unknown. We'll be sure to keep you updated as more becomes known.