MBB : Jardine to redshirt this season with stress fracture in left shin
Scoop Jardine kept playing last year, even as Syracuse’s season wound down and the pain in his left shin sharpened.
How could he stop? With the Orange basketball roster already pared down by injuries, Jardine’s presence in the backcourt was essential.
Now, it looks like Jardine’s toughness will cost him the entire 2008-09 season.
Both Jardine and SU head coach Jim Boeheim said Thursday the sophomore guard will redshirt this upcoming season to allow Jardine to fully rehabilitate a stress fracture in his left tibia.
Jardine suffered the injury early last season, but soldiered through the pain to finish out his freshman season.
‘Our main focus is to get him completely healthy,’ Boeheim said at Syracuse’s annual media day Thursday. ‘It’s been six months since we played our last game, right now or close to that, and he’s not healthy. We want to make sure he is healthy. So right now he is without question redshirting.’
Jardine’s absence makes the Syracuse backcourt a bit lighter. The Philadelphia native was expected to come off the bench this year, primarily as a backup to sophomore point guard Jonny Flynn.
For Jardine, his one-year sabbatical is a disappointing turn after a tumultuous first season at SU.
Jardine was suspended for a pair of games in late January for an alleged incident involving the theft of a Syracuse student’s SU ID card. ‘I almost had my college career taken away from me by almost getting kicked out of school,’ Jardine said.
It was around that time Jardine said the ache in his shin intensified. But with Syracuse’s lineup already whittled down to seven regulars – thanks to a pair of ACL injuries to sharpshooter Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf, and the departure of disgruntled point guard Josh Wright – Jardine had no recourse but to play through the pain.
‘After everything we’d been through,’ Jardine said. ‘We lost Eric, we lost Andy. I had to tough it out for my teammates and for myself.’
Jardine’s minutes increased as Big East play persisted. He averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 assists per game, and started seven Big East games. Syracuse finished the season 21-14, relegated to its second straight NIT.
Through it all, the soreness in his leg grew more acute. ‘It hurt, but I kind of got used to the injury and the soreness,’ Jardine said.
Finally, before the start of the NIT, Jardine told trainer Brad Pike about his ailment. X-rays revealed the stress fracture. Still, Jardine opted to play out the Orange’s NIT run (SU lost in the quarterfinals at home to Massachusetts).
Six months later, Jardine’s sore leg is still an issue. The sophomore said he is ‘about 70 percent.’ He could be healthy in time for part of the Orange’s Big East slate. But Boeheim said he wouldn’t consider wasting a year of Jardine’s eligibility for a few games down the stretch.
‘I think that will take two to three months to be 100 percent,’ Boeheim said. ‘In that scenario, we would not want to have to bring him in two months down the road and say, ‘OK, let’s start playing now.’ So we would not do that.’
That means for a second straight year, Syracuse has lost a member of its backcourt before the season has even started (Rautins severed his ACL playing for Team Canada last summer).
It also means Jardine will have to wait a full year to pen another chapter in his Syracuse career after last year’s up-and-down ride.
‘Everything I went through last year was a learning experience,’ Jardine said. ‘I got to see who was really there for me and who wasn’t. Made some tough decisions, but I have to live with them and move on.
‘I got a year to work on my game and get healthy, and actually come back better than I played.’
Staff writer Didier Morais contributed reporting to this story.
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