CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami Hurricanes guard Bruce Brown Jr. is racing the clock on an injured foot.
Brown is expected to be sidelined for about six weeks because of a left foot injury that will require surgery, the team said Tuesday. If the recovery timeline proves correct, his return would coincide with the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in early March.
Brown’s foot bothered him during the Hurricanes’ loss Saturday at Florida State . He saw a specialist Monday, and after X-rays were taken, surgery was scheduled for Thursday. The Hurricanes didn’t disclose the nature of the injury.
It’s the latest setback in a disappointing season for Brown, a versatile sophomore considered a possible NBA first-round draft pick this year. While Brown has struggled at times, coach Jim Larranaga said he’ll be sorely missed, beginning when the Hurricanes (15-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) play at home Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
“My life changes dramatically without Bruce Brown,” Larranaga said. “He impacts the game in so many different ways as a leader on the court, as a competitor and how hard he plays. He defends, he rebounds, he assists, he steals, he scores.”
While the injury could be season-ending if Brown heals slowly, he’s optimistic about returning, Larranaga said.
“He’s hoping six weeks is the longer side, and maybe he can get back sooner,” Larranaga said. But the coach noted that even when Brown returns, it could take him time to round into shape.
Replacing Brown will be a collective effort because he played three of the five positions. More playing time is likely for freshmen Chris Lykes and Sam Waardenburg.
Brown is averaging 11.4 points and shooting 42 percent, including 27 percent from 3-point range. All of those figures are a decline from his freshman season.
“He probably put too much pressure on himself, and had some games that were not like Bruce Brown games,” Larranaga said. “I felt like he was reaching a point that he was getting ready to explode and have a series of games where he was the best player on the floor for both teams.”