Ryan Canty, expected to start at center for Fordham this season, will have surgery on his back and is out indefinitely, the school announced today.
Canty's 2013-14 season ended on a high note. He grabbed 10 or more rebounds in five of Fordham's final six games, including 16 in the regular-season finale against George Washington and 19 in the play-in game of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
After missing six games early on in the year, it took Canty until the end of the season to return to form. When he did, he was an impact player for the Rams, who finished the season 10-21. The late-season production gave Fordham hope that a big senior year could be in store for Canty. The Rams were also banking on his leadership; he's one of only four upperclassmen on the roster.
In April, Fordham head coach Tom Pecora told Bleacher Report that he was looking forward to having a healthy and productive Canty on the floor.
"He's never had an offseason because of his back," Pecora said. "We want him to be able to get through this spring, summer and fall healthy. In turn, take that step to put himself in position to have a huge senior year.
"He's a guy who can average double-digit rebounds for us," he added. "He's going to defend the post. He's a good screener. He can get 10 points a game just on the foul line, off rebounds, on pick and rolls and lobs."
With Canty out, it will be up to junior Ryan Rhoomes and freshmen Christian Sengfelder, Dekeba Battee-Aston and Manny Suarez to pick up the slack. That's asking a lot of the freshmen, and the school announced more bad news to go along with Canty's injury: Suarez will also be out indefinitely. Though he had been practicing, Suarez is still feeling the effects of shoulder surgery he had in July.
Rhoomes could be the key. He averaged 6.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last year. He'll have to be a lot better this year, whether Canty's on the floor or not. Eric Paschall, another freshman, can play just about anywhere on the floor; he'll now be asked to do even more.
No doubt, this is a big blow for Fordham, but it's also a tough break for Canty, who seemed primed to build off his final few games last season.
Canty will be out for a few months following the surgery.
Fordham opens the regular season on Nov. 14. The Rams will play four games in Canada next week, where they'll have to get used to life without Canty, at least for the time being.
Quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.