After months of conservative treatments and prescribed care, Dean was not showing the necessary progress from the injury that bothered him for the last 16 games of the season. U of L team physician Dr. John Ellis of Jewish Hospital sought a specialist for the injury known as "athletic pubalgia."
Dr. William Meyers, chairman of the department of Surgery at the Drexel School of Medicine, performed the operation at the Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. Meyers is a celebrated liver surgeon who studied innovations in treating athletic groin pain and eventually developed what is considered the nation's most advanced diagnosis and treatment program for those suffering from the ailment.
Dean had two partial tears in his abdominal wall repaired and should return to full participation in 12 weeks. Over 2,500 similar successful surgeries have been performed on athletes including such professional standouts as kicker Martin Gramatica of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers, pitcher Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians, and wide receiver Jerry Porter of the Oakland Raiders.
"It's amazing that Taquan was able to play with that much pain," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino. "It goes to show you what a tough young man that he is. We look forward to having him back ready to go when we begin individual instruction sessions at the start of the fall semester."
A tri-captain for the Cardinals as a sophomore last season, Dean averaged 10.8 points as a starter for U of L's 20-10 team which made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Before the injury, Dean was among the nation's leaders in three-point accuracy (47.7 pct., 10th in NCAA) and threes made (3.4, 17th in NCAA) over the first half of the season.
Dean adapted well to the point guard role last season after starting 22 games as a freshman at shooting guard. He led the Cardinals with 71 three-point goals (seventh most ever in a single season at U of L) while connecting on 40.1 percent at the three point line. He buried a school-record nine three-pointers (in 12 attempts) and scored a career-high 31 points against VMI.