Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Lehigh is beginning to brace itself for the possibility of no more C.J. McCollum this season, as he weighs the benefits of saving himself for the NBA.
Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum had what was deemed "successful" surgery on Tuesday to place a pin in his right foot after breaking it last week against Virginia Commonwealth. This officially kicks in the eight to ten week time frame provided for his recovery.
There's just one hitch in that plan - there appears to be not just a non-zero, but a significant chance McCollum decides not to return at all this season. Per CBS Sports, Lehigh's poor head coach Brett Reed:
"The magnitude of his future - we understand that," Reed said. "We approach this thing to where he's fully healed, to reduce all chance of future injury, to ensure longevity of his career."
This is a reasonable debate for McCollum to have within himself, and with those who support him, and perhaps you could argue it either way.
On one hand, we already know that McCollum and his family don't need the money that the NBA provides, part of the reason he didn't enter the last draft. He also would be able to use the conference tournament (and possibly the NCAA tournament) to end his college career on a high note, as well as demonstrate to NBA scouts that the injury hasn't sapped any of his ability.
On the other hand, a broken foot is nothing to mess around with. There is no guarantee that McCollum will be back in eight weeks, and anything more than that might prevent him from playing another collegiate game anyways, given how much the Mountain Hawks may struggle without him in the lineup.
In addition to that, all the things those tournaments could showcase for McCollum would receive the same stage at the NBA draft combine, and there's no point putting any more stress on what is no longer a perfectly intact foot than is absolutely necessary.
Either way, McCollum will make the right decision for himself, and the team will have to soldier on without him:
"It would be impossible and improbable to replace C.J.," Reed said. "It will require the collective effort of everybody ... to try to cover" the tasks McCollum performed.