We now know, of course, that C.J. McCollum, if he is fortunate, will return just in time for Lehigh to play in the Patriot League conference tournament. However, forgive me if I am a little less doom and gloom about it all than Ben appears to be.
C.J. McCollum was already a pretty well established commodity coming into this season as a well-rounded and fairly NBA-ready point guard. He was not using this season to prove anything to anyone as far as scouts are concerned.
Sure, it would be nice if he could return for the home stretch of his senior season, but that would be strictly as a means of demonstrating that he is healed to the point of being back to game action - something that he could prove definitively three months later at the draft combine anyway.
McCollum is well known for his ability to see the court, change direction at the drop of a hat, and generally confuse his defenders in a way that only a man with great agility (and strong ankles and feet) can manage, so I certainly would appreciate seeing him back on the court.
That said, I personally think that McCollum has a strong chance to return for the conference tournament (more on that later), and if he does that, Lehigh should return to their previous status as a favorite to advance into the NCAA tournament from there, which would give McCollum ample time to provide NBA scouts with a refresher on his diverse skill set.
In addition to that, it isn't like the NCAA tournament is the only one out there. McCollum could use the NIT, or even the CBI, as an opportunity to get himself back into game condition and pro-ready playing form in the post-season.
Again, McCollum is a fairly established prospect and can certainly wait until the combine to be truly, fully healed if he so chooses, but there is still hope for him to show his wares in live game action before the season is out. He had best be very cautious, though, because a game like his that relies heavily on deception and agility so fluid it breaks ankles requires him being certain he's in no danger of breaking his own.