As first reported by DraftExpress.com, Baylor junior forward Johnathan Motley underwent surgery on a torn meniscusinjury he sustained against South Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.
BearsIllustrated has confirmed with sources that this is correct, with an expected recovery time of 4-6 weeks for the Bears All-American forward. While that recovery timeline won't impact any games for the Bears, it could have a major impact on his decision to return to Waco.
A fourth year junior, Motley is scheduled to graduate in the spring, and is seen as a late first/early second round caliber prospect in the NBA draft. Turning 22 years old next month, Motley is an older prospect already for the NBA, but developed into an All-American under Scott Drew this season.
Motley led the Bears with 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, becoming the first consensus all-american for the Baylor program. At 6-foot-10, and an over 7-foot reach, Motley is seen as a prototypical power forward in the modern NBA. He is a good shooter out to 20-feet and is one of the best post-scorers in this draft class.
However, Motley is not a proven 3-point shooter, even at the collegiate level, making just 9 of 32 this season, and 12 of 49 for his career. Another question mark about Motley are turnovers, having averaged 2.9 this year in a heavy usage role for the Bears.
The question was already out there about Motley coming back for his senior campaign with the Bears. Will another season, with improved 3-point shooting and fewer turnovers, help his stock or will another year in college remove some "potential" from his progressions.
Isaiah Austin faced a similar question after his freshman campaign, where a torn posterior labrum prevented Austin from going through individual workouts for NBA teams during the pre-draft process.
Motley's injury is not as severe, but that timeline might preclude him from being able to participate in the NBA draft combine (May 9th -14th), and could also run into the deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft (May 24th).
Stay tuned for more on this developing story and everything Baylor related.
***Edited to correct surgery. Motley suffered a torn meniscus, not a torn MCL.