KNOXVILLE – The season of heralded Tennessee freshman guard Robert Hubbs III is over.
The former five-star recruit has been bothered by a lingering shoulder injury all season and coach Cuonzo Martin said on Thursday afternoon that there is a “50-50 chance” that Hubbs will undergo surgery and be shut down for the rest of the season.
Tennessee raised that probability to 100 percent on Friday afternoon, confirming that Hubbs will indeed have in-season shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the 2013-14 season.
“Right now we’re getting all the information necessary - talking to his family, trainers and doctors and figuring out the best case scenario moving forward,” Martin said before UT’s Thursday practice.
Further evaluation showed that doing surgery now, and not waiting for the offseason, was the best action.
Hubbs, who has missed the last two games against Tusculum and LSU, is averaging 5.0 ppg and 1.5 rpg in 12 appearances this season. Affected by the injured shoulder and playing behind a veteran pair of wings – Jordan McRae and Josh Richardson – Hubbs has averaged just over 18 minutes of action per game.
His most productive game came against The Citadel on Nov. 18 when he scored 13 points and collected four rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Hubbs has already appeared in over 30 percent of UT’s game, meaning a medical hardship season should be out of the question at this point.
“Just have to do what’s best for the young man,” Martin added. “Tough, tough deal because he wants to be on the floor but he’s not the player he’s capable of being because he has his shoulder in a brace and it’s tough to do the things he needs to do to be successful.”
The Vols will certainly miss Hubbs, though they have a roster that can withstand the loss in all likelihood.
“I think D’montre, Armani – both of those guys are very effective at that position,” said Martin. “You lose a key player, but I think we’ll be fine.”
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga