KNOXVILLE – Tennessee freshman basketball player Derek Reese underwent a surgical procedure on his right shoulder to address a labral tear Tuesday at UT Medical Center.
Tennessee associate director of sports medicine Chad Newman set an estimated recovery time at approximately six months.
Reese, a true freshman guard from Orlando, Fla., enrolled at UT for the second session of summer school. He joined the Volunteers on their recent exhibition tour of Italy but did not dress for any of the team’s four games because of his shoulder injury.
Reese had enjoyed a solid summer before getting hurt. Because his grandparents are from Puerto Rico, he played for the P.R. U19 team that competed in the Nike Global Challenge in Washington, D.C. in July. He started all three games and led his team with averages of 21.0 points and 12.3 rebounds.
Once he began practicing with his new teammate in preparation for Tennessee’s trip to Italy, the 6-foot-7 Reese caught the attention of his coaches.
“He knows how to play,” Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said before the Vols departed for Italy. “He’s got a good feel for the game. He knows when to throw the bounce pass. He knows when to penetrate, pitch and feed a guy. It’s the simple things that you kind of take for granted.”
“He’s been coached,” said assistant coach Kent Williams. “He’s got a good feel for the flow of the game. More strength, more experience will really help him.”
It appears likely Reese will have to take a medical redshirt. But if there’s any position where the Vols could stand the loss of a player, it’s at the shooting guard/small forward slot, where five players will be competing for time.
Martin probably would have looked to redshirt a player in 2012-13 anyway. Once his rehabilitation is complete, Reese can take advantage of the year off by adding muscle to his 205-pound frame.