The Pitt basketball team suffered a devastating blow when senior guard Cameron Wright had surgery for a fractured left foot last week. The injury will leave Wright out of the lineup for at least 10 weeks as he attempts to be ready for the ACC schedule.
Presuming that Wright is healthy for a game or two in December and back to 100 percent by the start of the ACC schedule, am I the only one who thinks that this could work into the Panthers' favor? Later today, Anson will discuss why Wright's injury is a bad thing, but here's why I believe Pitt should still be fine.
The likely replacement in the starting lineup for Wright is sophomore guard Josh Newkirk. If you have read anything that I have written before, you know that I think quite highly of Newkirk. Newkirk can play valuable minutes against decent competition which can prove to be important to the Panthers down the road.
Wright, a senior, does not need to play against teams such as Samford and Niagra. Sure, it would be great to have him in the lineup during the Maui Invitational and against Indiana, however I expect Newkirk to step up and fill in admirably.
Newkirk can use these games to get more experience and if he moves into a sixth man role when Wright is healthy will have a lot of real game experience. If Wright comes back in 10 weeks (optomistic outlook), he should be ready for the last four-to-five non ACC challenges, just enough time for him to get into a rhythm and be able to contribute.
The Panthers will need him for the ACC schedule, quite simply, Derrick Randall should not be the only senior leader on any team. I expect, if healthy, Wright to come back with a chip on his shoulder and lead this young Panthers team.