ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Fox shared good news and bad news concerning sophomore forward Marcus Thornton after Tuesday’s 92-86 overtime win against Winthrop.
The good news is that he expects Thornton to play again this season after undergoing surgery Tuesday morning on the knee he injured early in a Dec. 23 win against Furman. The bad news is that he doesn’t know how long Thornton -- the Bulldogs’ leading rebounder at 5.8 per game -- will be sidelined.
“He will return at some point,” said Fox, who said the surgery was a success and that Thornton’s injury was less severe than originally thought. “But I don’t know when.”
Georgia was just beginning to find answers in its rebuilding post game when Thornton injured his knee eight minutes into the Furman game after planting awkwardly.
Thornton, second among the team’s frontcourt players in averaging 22.9 minutes per game, is actually one of the team’s most experienced post players on a roster littered with freshman big men.
“We needed Marcus Thornton to get hurt like we needed a hole in the head,” Fox said after the comeback win against Winthrop. “We start two true freshmen [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nemanja Djurisic]. Our lineups, our rotations, it’s jumbled up. We’ve got to re-figure it all out after establishing something for 12 games. It’s going to take us a little time. Fortunately for tonight, we stayed out of foul trouble. But not having Marcus was certainly a big part of how disjointed I think that we played.”
Freshman forward Djurisic played a much bigger role in Thornton’s absence Tuesday, posting career highs for points (17), rebounds (nine), minutes (34) and assists (three).
“It’s a big disadvantage for us,” Djurisic said of Thornton’s absence. “Now younger guys like me and the other players on the bench have to step up in that area of rebounding -- he was our leading rebounder -- and he brought energy every game. Now we need to do that. It’s a big responsibility, but I think we should do it and we can do it and hold this team while he’s off indefinitely.”
Senior guard Dustin Ware complimented Djurisic for his play against Winthrop and praised the defensive effort junior college transfer John Florveus gave in 11 minutes off the bench.
“I really can honestly just say all of them [need to chip in],” said Ware, Thornton’s roommate. “Obviously this guy to my right, Neme, he came in and played well for us tonight. But really all of them are going to have to come in and play big minutes and play well when they’re in there.”