Point guard Austin Chatman, the lone returning starter for the Creighton men’s basketball team, will be sidelined for two months after undergoing thumb surgery on Tuesday, the school announced.
It’s unclear when or how Chatman suffered the injury, but the procedure was necessary to re-attach a ligament in his right hand. He’s not expected to miss the beginning of the 2014-15 season, but will be limited to light drills and conditioning work while the injury recovers.
Chatman has started the past 71 consecutive games for Creighton, including every game last season as the Blue Jays went 27-8 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season. The team will have to weather some major losses, including first-round pick Doug McDermott, to keep that streak alive.
Last season, Chatman averaged 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, all career-highs. The 6′ guard shot 43 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range, and improved his turnover rate despite taking on a larger offensive workload.
Luckily, the injury shouldn’t keep Chatman out for any next season, so head coach Greg McDermott will have his veteran leader — and top returning scorer — on the floor from the beginning. It’ll be interesting to see how the Blue Jays fare without the younger McDermott, who spent four years at Creighton and goes down as one of the school’s all-time great athletes.
The Blue Jays open the season on Nov. 7 against Sioux Falls. One of the team’s first big games comes Nov. 19, when the Oklahoma Sooners visit for an intriguing non-conference matchup.