If it weren't for bad luck, the Illini wouldn't have any luck at all.
An offseason of constant injuries got even worse Tuesday, when the team announced junior guard Kendrick Nunn will miss the next eight weeks while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. He'll have surgery Wednesday.
Head coach John Groce told reporters at Big Ten basketball media day last week that Nunn injured his thumb, the reason why the junior and Chicago native wasn't in attendance. He had no update on the extent of the injury then.
Nunn was injured during practice, Groce and fellow junior guard Malcolm Hill said last week. The team announced Tuesday it was on Oct. 13.
“It was weird because I don’t remember when it happened," Hill said. "He said he tried to steal a ball and he felt something, but it seemed it didn’t really hurt to him. I guess the adrenaline was going. He didn’t really feel it till the day after, and that’s when he realized it was hurt."
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If Nunn is ready to go as soon as the eight-week recovery period ends, he could return in time for the annual Braggin' Rights game against Missouri on Dec. 23. The Big Ten season starts a week after that, on Dec. 30, against Michigan.
This offseason has been a nightmarish one for the Illini from an injury standpoint. Senior point guard Tracy Abrams suffered a torn Achilles and is out for the season, the second straight offseason during which he's suffered a season-ending injury. Freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands has been dealing with a stress fracture in his leg and is still recovering after sitting out during the team's European trip. Sophomore forward Leron Black had surgery to repair a torn meniscus and will miss time. And junior guard Jaylon Tate suffered a concussion this offseason, as well.
It's unknown how many of those players, if any, will be ready for the season-opener against North Florida on Nov. 13.