|Chris Collinsworth's BYU career started in 2007. It's now over. (US Presswire)|
This is only a blip on the college basketball radar. But when you look at the circumstances, damn, what a heartbreaking end.
Chris Collinswort has been part of the BYU basketball program ... since 2007. Being a Mormon, the Cougs forward needed to take his two-year mission at some point in his young life. He chose to do that after his freshman year with the team, when he averaged 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 points.
That mission, combined with three big-time injuries/surgeries, have kept Collinsworth away from continuing his career. It turns out microfracture surgery is now needed on his left ankle, and this is the final straw. BYU announced Monday that Collinsworth must give up playing competitive hoops.
"I can't imagine the disappointment that Chris and his family must be feeling at this moment," BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement. "I wish him the very best with this latest setback and hope his ankle can be repaired and heal with a full recovery. Chris is a wonderful competitor and a great teammate, and we will miss him very much. I will always respect and admire his desire, dedication and passion to return to the court to help his teammates. I wish Chris, Tatum and their families the very best in this difficult time."
It marks the third time in 18 months that Collinsworth must go under the knife. At a certain point, the body can't take all these surgeries and still remain strong enough to play hoops at a high level.
"It's been really hard physically and mentally, and it's time to move on," Collinsworth said. "When the door on one opportunity closes, others open and I'm ready to move on and explore those other options."
It has been more than his ankle. Because of knee problems, Collinsworth only played in 11 games in his last two seasons. His right knee required microfracture surgery in January 2011. Then the knee had to be scoped last December after the pain didn't subside. And now that he's fully recovered from that, it's time for his ankle to get sliced open? Just too much.
BYU says Collinsworth noticed the problem over the summer, during team workouts. Sure enough, a recent MRI confirmed the need for surgery, which Collinsworth will have this week. He isn't expected to fully heal until April.
Sometimes players can't do anything to avoid these situations; injuries are as unpredictable as northeast weather patterns. Let's also be sure to note Collinsworth wasn't by any means a star, nor was he on the track to be a pivotal player in the West Coast Conference. But he had the body and talent to be a glue guy for BYU down the road. Now they won't have that.
It's a hit for the Cougars, but the bright side is Collinsworth seems to have options aligned for him going forward -- and he still has college time left to enjoy. Rose would do good to keep him part of the team in some capacity, if indeed Collinsworth would be open to that.