A First Team All-American candidate could miss the start of the season.
Oregon's Dillon Brooks, who bypassed the near-certainty of being drafted in June and instead opted to return for his junior season, is not on pace to be healthy enough to play for the Ducks come early November. The update comes via the Register-Guard of Eugene, Ore. Brooks, who was Pac-12 all-conference player last season, is rehabbing his left foot after requiring surgery in July.
There is no specific timetable for when he'll be back. Via the Register-Guard, Oregon coach Dana Altman said it's not known when Brooks will be good to go, but it's not expected to be as early as October.
Brooks will almost certainly miss the start of the regular season when the Ducks host Army on Nov. 11.
"That's up to the doctors and we will be real conservative with it," Altman said. "As much as we want to win those early games and have him ready to go, the majority of our games are in January, February and March, hopefully."
Other than the 6-7 Smith, Oregon's roster features guards along with big men who don't have a lot of experience playing on the perimeter.
"We will have to play a little different because Dillon was so versatile," Altman said. "We can play him inside because he's big enough to bounce around and loves beating on guys inside. He's not afraid to be physical. His skill level has developed the last couple years to move further away from the basket. He's very valuable because of his versatility."
What games could Brooks miss out on? Oregon's season opens with these games:
Nov. 11: vs. Army
Nov. 15: at Baylor
Nov. 17: vs. Valparaiso
After that, Oregon heads to Hawaii for the always-interesting Maui Invitational. Ideally, Brooks is back in time for the Thanksgiving-week event, as a number of high-profile programs will be there, and that could be crucial to Oregon's seeding by the time March comes.
The Ducks won't be low on talent. Tyler Dorsey, Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher, Dylan Ennis -- all really good players, each of them capable of taking over a game. But Brooks is the alpha. He averaged 16.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season. He helped Oregon nab a No. 1 seed; the Ducks lost in the Elite Eight to No. 2 Oklahoma.