Severe injury to ‘leader’ Justin Minaya has ripple effects for South Carolina
Justin Minaya’s season is officially over.
Out since late November because of a knee injury, the South Carolina swingman has decided to take a medical redshirt, South Carolina announced Saturday.
The sophomore hasn’t played since a Gamecock win over George Washington on Nov. 18. Minaya was injured during a practice between then and the next game against Wofford on Nov. 26. He had surgery shortly thereafter.
The news, which was announced before Saturday’s game with Arkansas, doesn’t come as a surprise. What at first appearance to be a January return, Minaya’s progression was slowed to the point where he still wasn’t cleared for practice in February.
“He did not make the progress from a strength standpoint we thought he would make,” Martin said.
Had Minaya played in any game post-Jan. 16, he would have forfeited his redshirt opportunity, according to NCAA rules.
Omar Minaya, special assistant to the general manager for the New York Mets and Justin’s father, was in Columbia this weekend to meet with his son and the USC staff and discuss Justin’s options.
The 6-foot-5 Minaya is one of Carolina’s most trusted perimeter defenders. He’s averaging averaging 7.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 37 career games as a Gamecock. He started 30 games as a freshman and five as a sophomore.
He’ll be a redshirt sophomore in 2019-20, joining A.J. Lawson and Keyshawn Bryant in making that class the strongest on USC’s roster.
Minaya is the second Gamecock to be officially shut down this season because of injury. Freshman guard T.J. Moss, who had foot and ankle surgeries in December, is also taking a medical redshirt. Center Jason Cudd (knee) has been sidelined since Jan. 13.