South Carolina basketball returned from Thanksgiving break to bad news.
USC announced Monday, prior to tip-off with Wofford, that sophomore swingman Justin Minaya is out “indefinitely” with a right knee injury. It was suffered during practice Sunday. The school announced Tuesday that Minaya will have surgery this week. He’ll begin rehab immediately and is not expected to miss the rest of the season. A more definitive timetable will be announced post-surgery.
USC coach Frank Martin said Monday that a January return was possible.
Minaya has started 35 of the 37 games he’s been available for since arriving last year from New Jersey. The Gamecocks lost their only game without him last season — an 81-76 result to Mississippi State.
Minaya, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder, is Martin’s most trusted perimeter defender. He’s averaging 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds a game this season.
Minaya’s status looked grim after initial sight of his injury.
“Ten minutes to go in practice, he jumped, landed and he just crumbled to the floor,” Martin said after the Gamecocks’ 81-61 loss to the Terriers. “I thought it was really bad.”
When asked about the injury, senior guard Hassani Gravett couldn’t muster much of a reaction.
“Prayers go up to the my guy,” Gravett said. “Scary injury that he had. I really don’t even like talking about it, to be honest.”