When Tray Woodall went down with an injury last year in the Duquesne game, it didn't look all that bad at first. But as the year went on and he missed more and more games, it had quite the impact on the season. Woodall eventually returned, but he wasn't the same. Ashton Gibbs struggled in part because of it and Pitt ended up celebrating a championship. Okay, so it wasn't exactly the one we've been waiting for.
Two players who had offseason surgeries are experiencing different results as the Panthers prepare for the 2012-13 season. Junior forward J.J. Moore, who had surgery to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, will not have any limitations when practice begins next week. Dixon reported only some minor problems with Moore getting into the physical conditioning he desires after rehabbing the foot.
It’s a different story for senior point guard Tray Woodall, who had offseason sports hernia surgery after the injury forced him to miss 10 games in the middle of last season. Woodall has not missed any of the team workouts since the players reported back to school in August, but Dixon said he has had to miss some strength and conditioning workouts because of the same discomfort in the abdomen.
“With Tray, it’s his call,” Dixon said. “There are times when he has discomfort.”
Wasn't expecting this and about the only solace I can take is that there's still a little over a month away before the season gets underway. But it's a tough pill to swallow that here we are more than ten months removed from the hernia and Woodall still isn't feeling exactly as he should be. That's, of course, nothing on him and it's absolutely not his fault that he isn't 100%. It's just disappointing.
Even more to the point, it means Pitt could again get off to a slow start and struggle this year if they're missing Woodall. The good news is that with transfer Trey Zeigler, an emerging Lamar Patterson (and hopefully J.J. Moore), and the freshman Steven Adams, Pitt should have a bit more firepower. But Woodall is the one who will make this team tick and to me, there's no question it's his team.
Sure, there's James Robinson. But to me, everyone seems to be putting an awful lot of stock into him as a true freshman. Robinson should be able to contribute, but he's obviously not going to be the player that Woodall is right now as a senior.
Stay tuned, but for now, obviously not great news.