Sophomore forward Aleem Ford has been ruled out indefinitely after sustaining a knee injury during practice and having surgery earlier today. Not much is known yet about the specifics of the injury but Ford should still make an appearance later this season.
Ford’s absence will be an enormous hurdle for the Badgers to overcome in the frontcourt. After an impressive performance in the Red/White Scrimmage game last week there was a lot of conversation about how the forward had both improved his jumper and reshaped his body during the offseason.
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Head Coach Greg Gard emphasized the need for the team to move forward.
“They know it is part of the game,” Gard said. “We’ve had multiple guys go through it. You look around the country and you read something every day about somebody somewhere.”
These injuries are nothing new for Badger basketball of late, with D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King both sustaining season-ending injuries in November of last year.
The Badgers will have to look to fill the void up front with returning players Ethan Happ, Alex Illikainen and Nate Reuvers. Out of those three, Reuvers will likely take on the majority of the shooting duties as Happ has yet to develop any kind of a jump shot and Illikainen hasn’t proven to be consistent in that regard. Though he struggled more from deep as the year went on, Reuvers was second to Ford among frontcourt players with 47 three point attempts last season.
Another possibility for the Badgers would be to choose not to redshirt freshman forward Taylor Currie. The 6-foot-8 big out of Columbus, Ohio showed some promise in his shooting abilities in high school but that may not necessarily translate immediately at the college level.
But Wisconsin can survive without a full rotation of shooters as Brad Davison and Brevin Pritzl proved to be more than competent in that regard last season. Davison will also be in better health as the sophomore is fully recovered from a shoulder injury he played through the second half of last season.
The Badgers will kick off the season without Ford in their scrimmage versus Coppin State Friday.