Doctors in Cincinnati, Ohio, performed total reconstruction to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Brandon Watkins knee. While the medical staff said the surgery went well, it’s still uncertain how long it will take the West Virginia post player to fully recover. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward from Atlanta, Ga., faces the possibility of having to sit out this coming season. Having just completed his sophomore season, Watkins does have a redshirt year available, so if he is forced to take a medical redshirt for the 2015-16 season, he still would have two years of eligibility remaining after that.
Watkins played in 32 of WVU’s 33 games as a true freshman in the 2013-14 season, averaging 2.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and a team-high 0.75 blocked shots per game.
Illness and injury beset Watkins throughout much of his sophomore season, though. After contracting mono just prior to the start of the 2014-15 regular season, Watkins was forced to sit out West Virginia’s first seven games. He returned to the Mountaineer lineup in early December, but having lost nearly 20 pounds because of the illness, it took him quite a while to get back into game shape. He played in each of West Virginia’s 17 games over the next two months but never approached double figures in the scoring department during that time.
Then on Feb. 11 against Kansas State at the WVU Coliseum, Watkins put together his best performance in a gold and blue uniform, scoring a career-high 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds to lead the Mountaineers to a 76-72 victory over the Wildcats. But late in that win, Watkins’ injured his knee when a teammate fell into him. Watkins limped to the locker room at that point and would be sidelined for the next two and a half weeks. He eventually did return to action, playing in six of WVU’s final seven games of the season, including all three NCAA tournament contests. But forced to wear a bulky knee brace, his playing time was limited to a total of 23 minutes in those six games, and he scored only two points. Amidst all his medical problems, Watkins played in 23 of West Virginia’s 35 games this past season, averaging 1.9 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.61 blocks when he was able to get on the court.
Doctors reportedly believe that while Watkins re-aggravated his knee injury this season against K-State, the actual tear to his ACL originally occurred while he was in high school.
No matter when it happened, though, Watkins’ ACL has been repaired, but the length of his rehab is still up in the air.