Aldridge Officially Out; March 1 Surgery Scheduled

Freshman F LaMarcus Aldridge is scheduled for a March 1 surgery to repair cartilage and a tendon in the hip flexor area and is officially out for the season, basketball coach Rick Barnes confirmed Thursday.

Aldridge suffered the hip injury during Texas' 63-53 win at Nebraska on January 15.

"Quite honestly, we knew from the MRI coming back from Nebraska that he was going to have to have surgery," Barnes said.

Aldridge attempted a return to practice on February 3 but lasted all of "five or six" repetitions, Barnes said. Initially, team doctors told Aldridge that there was a possibility he could have returned prior to reparative surgery because it would be unlikely that competition would do any further damage, Barnes reported.

"They felt like it would not be a problem," Barnes noted, "but once he got back into it, he didn't feel comfortable... He just felt discomfort the next day. We knew, right then and there, that he had tried. He wanted to come back. He talked to his mom and kept her abreast of everything. But we also knew, because of his discomfort there, that we weren't going to push it."

"He's doing the right thing by getting into it right now. He'll have the spring and the summer before getting through with his rehabilitation."

A Pittsburgh-based surgeon, who has performed similar procedures on various NFL athletes including former Longhorn RB Priest Holmes, is scheduled for Aldridge's operation in two weeks, Barnes added. Barnes is unsure where the surgery will be performed.

"To be quite honest, his problem was really with his other leg," Barnes said. "During the past two or three weeks, he's worked really hard on the right side of his body and really trying to improve there. LaMarcus is so diligent with what he does that he'll make the best of the situation. He's just so committed to doing the right thing."

Senior C Jason Klotz, who has played in place of Aldridge during the past seven ballgames, is playing at least 10 minutes per game above his comfort level since being pressed into the starting lineup, according to the Texas head coach.

"If you were to have asked Jason before the beginning of the season how many minutes he would have been comfortable playing, he would have told you around 24," Barnes said. "Now he's playing around 34 minutes."

Klotz registered 16 points and eight boards in 36 minutes during the 88-79 loss at Colorado Tuesday.

Meanwhile, junior G Kenton Paulino is doubtful for Saturday's home game against Kansas State. Senior G Sydmill Harris, playing through a painful groin injury, is projected to start against the Wildcats. Freshman F Dion Dowell is also expected to log his second start Saturday.

The Horns, once ranked as high as No. 9, have dropped four of five contests since leading scorer and rebounder P.J. Tucker was declared academically ineligible to compete. Texas (15-7, 4-5) faces Kansas State (13-7, 3-6) at 12:45 p.m., Saturday, at the Erwin Center in an ESPN+ regional telecast.

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