Wisconsin sophomore forward Alando Tucker, after consultation with UW team physicians, has decided to sit out the remainder of the 2003-04 basketball season, according to a statement released Monday morning by UW Sports Information. Under NCAA rules, UW can apply to the Big Ten once the season is over to regain his year of eligibility as a medical hardship case.
"This was a tough decision for me but after talking to our doctors following my physical exam and testing on Friday, I feel that it is the best decision for me," Tucker said. "It's not easy for me to have to sit out but I am confident this is the best choice for me in the long run. I will continue to support my teammates during practice and games to my fullest extent and look forward to coming back next season at 100 percent."
Under NCAA rules, a school can apply for a medical hardship on behalf of a student-athlete if the student-athlete sustains an injury and that injury is such that it prevents them from competing, provided they participate in no more than 20 percent of their team's contests and the injury occurred in the first half of the season.
Tucker broke his right foot on Oct. 9 and missed the Badgers' two exhibition games and the first five games of the regular season. He returned to action against UW-Green Bay on Dec. 10 and came off the bench against the Phoenix and in the following game against UW-Milwaukee. Tucker started two subsequent games against Marquette and Ohio and averaged 19.5 points and six rebounds per contest. He has missed the last eight games due to a right foot injury suffered during the Ohio game. For the season, he played 83 minutes in four games, averaging 14.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
"The coaches and players all recognize that this is a tough time for Alando and was a difficult decision to make, but we give him all our support and wish him a complete recovery," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Like I've said in the past, I believe we have the best medical personnel available for our student-athletes. It was with their guidance that Alando came to this decision, a decision that we all feel is best for him physically. That is our top concern, that Alando get back to 100 percent physically."