It's official -- Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn will be out for a prolonged period of time after undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a ligament in his left thumb (shooting hand). The injury, which was originally announced by John Groce during Big Ten Media Day, occurred during practice on October 13th. According to the press release, he's expected to sidelined for at least 8 weeks.
Nunn averaged 11.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game as a sophomore, and his role was going to expand even more this season after the departure of Rayvonte Rice.
High-profile injuries to Tracy Abrams (Achilles Tendon), Jalen Coleman-Lands (foot stress fracture), Leron Black (meniscus tear), and now Kendrick Nunn have unfortunately been the story of Illinois' offseason.
The Illini aren't exactly equipped to handle more blows to the depth chart, but shooting guard was expected to be a relative strength this year. Coleman-Lands is expected to be healthy by the start of the year, and fellow freshman Aaron Jordan has reportedly been turning heads this preseason.
It'll absolutely be an uphill climb, but the Illini may still have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament if they can navigate through the non-conference schedule with 1-2 losses.