Arizona sophomore guard Brandon Williams will miss the 2019-20 season as he recovers from knee surgery, the team announced Wednesday.
“The news of Brandon’s season-ending surgery is beyond disheartening,” coach Sean Miller said in a statement (via the Arizona Daily Star). “All of us that comprise Brandon’s Arizona basketball family, as well as our own loyal and passionate fan base, will rally around him and support him as he begins his journey to recovery.”
Williams has dealt with knee issues for more than three years as a result of a joint condition. He had surgery in 2017, forcing him to miss his junior season in high school as he was sidelined for 10 months. He returned to play most of his senior year at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California.
He started having problems with his knee again in January as a freshman with the Wildcats. He bruised it during practice and missed the next four weeks before starting a rehab program in the offseason.
Williams, who averaged 11.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 26 games last season, is expected to return for the 2020-21 season as a redshirt sophomore if he can remain healthy.
“I’ve overcome obstacles before in my life and will work with our strength and medical staffs to overcome this one,” Williams said in a statement. “I’m dedicated to continuing my work in the classroom as a student, and I look forward to supporting my teammates and coaches as I spend this season focusing on my health.”
Miller acknowledged that Arizona will have to make adjustments offensively to balance the loss of Williams. The Wildcats are expected to use grad transfer Max Hazzard as a combo guard to back up freshman Nico Mannion, the Daily Star notes.
“It’s going to be hard for us to win a game with I think the limitations that we have at the moment,” Miller said (per 247Sports). “We have to keep working and get better, have great days of practice and individual players have to keep improving.
“We have more firepower and, as everybody in this room knows, we’re not a blessed offensive team even with Brandon, but I do think we have much more of an ability to score and be efficient when he’s a part of our team.”