Northwestern sophomore center Dererk Pardon suffered a hand injury against Wake Forest on Monday night and underwent successful surgery Thursday morning. The injury will sideline him for the remainder of the non-conference season, the program announced Thursday, and he will be re-evaluated before conference season starts.
Pardon, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound center, has started all seven games for the Wildcats this season, averaging 6.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. His rebound and block numbers lead the team, and his blocks average ranks third in the Big Ten.
During today’s meeting with the media, Collins was confident that Pardon was returning this season.
Chris Collins will now have to turn to junior Gavin Skelly and freshman Barret Benson with Pardon out of commission. Skelly has played well this year, and he has played key roles in several games, including Northwestern’s win over Wake Forest when Pardon struggled with fouls. The 6-foot-8, 220-pounder, also out of the Cleveland area, scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds against the Demon Deacons. His skills as a passer and a scorer have improved this season, but he is somewhat undersized and also has a history of foul trouble.
Finally, Benson, who has never played more than six minutes in a game and has seen no action whatsoever in two contests this season, will have to play important minutes for this team. Benson was a relatively highly-touted recruit out of the Chicagoland area but has struggled somewhat adapting to the faster pace of the college game.
Northwestern hosts DePaul on Saturday night and has six games left before conference play opens against Penn State on Dec. 27.
UPDATE (4:21 p.m.)
Chris Collins confirmed that Pardon will be back to play this year. Additionally, the injury was to Pardon’s right hand, his non-dominant hand.
Here is Collins’ media availability tape: