Maryland sophomore forward Justin Jackson tore his right labrum and will sit out the remainder of the season, head coach Mark Turgeon announced on Thursday.
Jackson has missed the Terps’ past three games since last appearing in the team’s win over Ohio, but the common belief was that he was sitting these games out to rest a sore right shoulder.
Jackson has been dealing with the injury since the beginning of the season, Turgeon said. After the team received a second medical opinion, the team made the decision to shut him down for the rest of the year.
Turgeon said Jackson will have surgery but didn’t give a timetable on his recovery.
“We’ve known he’s been hurt for a while,” Turgeon said. “Ever since we started sitting him out, we knew he had an injury and it was something we thought he could play through. But we just decided over Christmas that it wasn’t in the best interest of Justin.”
Jackson, who many experts believed could leave school early for the NBA Draft after his sophomore campaign,, has struggled for the majority of the 2017-18 season. While there have been flashes of his potential throughout the season, there hasn’t been a complete return to the play that got so much attention last year.
The decline in Jackson’s game can be seen in his statistics. Jackson shot 36.6 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc. Both of those numbers are a steep decline from his freshman year in which he shot 43.8 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from 3-point range.
Turgeon said Jackson has been dealing with the injury for some time now.
“It happened before he came to Maryland, is what the doctors told me,” he said. “He re-aggravated it a lot this year. So, he’s been a tough sucker. A torn labrum is a pretty significant injury. It’s pretty painful, and he tried to play through it for his team.”
The loss of Jackson means Turgeon and the Terps will have to make changes to the rotation. Jackson may not have had the offensive numbers he once did, but he has been a force in rebounding. He leads the team with 8.1 rebounds per game.
Jackson’s absence also puts pressure on the rest of Maryland’s injured players to return and fill the gap. Fernando, one of the most likely choices to replace Jackson, is also recovering from an ankle sprain he sustained against Ohio on Dec. 7. Fernando is a fan favorite, and his presence will be important as a scorer, as well as a rebounder.
Other viable replacements, redshirt junior guard Dion Wiley and junior center Ivan Bender, could at least see an increase in minutes. Wiley has been hot from long range all season, and Bender has come off the bench to play the power forward position often.
Turgeon seemed confident his players will find a way to deal with Jackson sitting out.
“It is tough, because we set up a lot of our offense for Justin,” Turgeon said. “A lot of things were set up through him. Plus, he’s very versatile. He can play the four and the three. It changes our dynamic. It changes a little bit how we’re going to play. But we have good players. Guys will have to step up.”
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