Longhorns lose Ridley indefinitely with broken foot

Texas center Cameron Ridley, right, grabs a rebound over Appalachian State forward Michael Obacha (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Senior center Cam Ridley broke his left foot Sunday during practice and is out for an indefinite amount of time. He’ll have surgery Tuesday morning, the school announced.

“I feel really bad for him because he’s really, really done everything we’ve asked,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “He’s been making terrific progress, he’s a great young man, did a great job in the classroom, and he’s been playing terrific. He’ll bounce back. This is certainly not the end of his career.”

While Smart is optimistic Ridley will be able to return before the end of the season, there’s no timetable set. Smart expects to have a better idea for when he could be back after the surgery.

Through the first 11 games of the season, Ridley led the team in rebounds and blocks with 110 and 37, respectively. He was second on the team in minutes played and scoring, averaging 12.7 points per game. Isaiah Taylor leads the team in both categories.

“We got so used to throwing Cam the ball on the inside, so used to him getting all those rebounds, so used to him being a presence on defense,” senior guard Javan Felix said. “It’s gonna take us just a little while to get used to him not being out there.”

The loss is a huge blow to the Longhorns, who are riding a six-game winning streak, including a win over then-No. 3 North Carolina.

“I think the message is for everyone to step up, not just one play and not just one position,” Smart said.

In his absence, Texas will look to senior center Prince Ibeh and junior forward Shaq Cleare to help fill the void. Smart did admit, though, that without Ridley, Texas will rely more on its guards to make shots from the perimeter.

“With him being out, we still wanna throw the ball inside, but … it’s not gonna go in there quite as much because he was by far our most gifted guy around the basket,” Smart said. “We can throw it in to Prince, we can throw it in to Shaq, even Connor [Lammert].”

The Longhorns return from a 10-day break Tuesday at home against Connecticut.

 

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