Gasser to watch 2012-13 from bench

first_imgSlated to take over at point guard for the Badgers this season, junior Josh Gasser tore the ACL in his left knee Saturday, ending his season.[/media-credit]Meeting with the press for the first time since his injury, Josh Gasser took a seat with his left leg resting on a separate chair.The brace that covers Gasser’s resting leg now serves as a grisly reminder to the Wisconsin guard, teammates and press alike of the season-ending injury the junior suffered in practice this past Saturday.Going up for a layup, Gasser heard a pop, and that was it. Just like that, the Badgers lost their projected starting point guard for the season to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.“Just kind of a freak thing, first of all,” Gasser said. “I just got a steal, going in transition and went up for a layup, did a little side step going up for a layup, nothing out of the ordinary. Just kind of gave out on me.“The physical pain was pretty bad but it was nothing compared to the emotional, mental pain that happened.”With surgery scheduled for next Tuesday, Wisconsin will have to scramble to adjust to the unplanned loss of Gasser for the 2012-13 season.Gasser will likely travel with the team the entire year but miss the first two road trips to Gainesville, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev., due to the fact they fall within the first month of his recovery from surgery.The injury and the entire press conference was an affair charged with the raw emotion of Gasser, who seemed to still be accepting the fact his season was over.It’s a disappointing fact considering what the junior was expected to do this season.With the upcoming season projected as a breakout year for the new Wisconsin point guard, Gasser was ready for an increased role in the offense handling the ball and running the offense, filling the void left by former Badger All-American Jordan Taylor.Just a season ago, Gasser averaged 7.6 points per game and 4.2 rebounds a game for the Badgers, logging 34.1 minutes a contest – good for second on the team – while starting all 36 games.A starter even as a freshman, Gasser, who will use his redshirt to avoid losing a season of eligibility, acknowledged the frustrations he’s already felt in regard to his injury.“It sucks; you can’t really describe it I guess,” Gasser said.But Gasser hasn’t lacked a support network. Reaching out to the injured player have been players from other campuses and sports, like the football team’s Curt Phillips, a quarterback who has endured and returned from multiple injuries to his own ACL.Phillips had some advice for the long road of recovery ahead.“Do what [the medical staff] tell you,” Gasser said of Phillip’s advice. “The doctors and trainers they have experienced it with other athletes. … He just told me to be patient with it; it’s going to suck the first few weeks, it’s going to suck the first couple of months to try and get it done. He told me to take my time with it because if you do you’ll come back strong.”Gasser also received support from Minnesota’s big man Trevor Mbakwe, who had an ACL injury sideline him just a season ago. Mbakwe responded to Gasser through Facebook, as the two exchanged a few quick messages.“We inboxed each other for a couple posts back and forth,” Gasser said. “It was pretty nice of him.”The Badgers will now have to scramble to adjust their backcourt accordingly. A positive for head coach Bo Ryan’s squad is that they have a bona fide No. 1 on the roster waiting for his chance to shine.George Marshall, just a redshirt freshman, will most likely get the call to fill Gasser’s spot in the starting lineup. Marshall looked impressive in the practice period available to the media Tuesday afternoon, knocking down three-pointer after three-pointer while also showing off a smooth pull-up jumper.While the Badgers will miss the most seasoned member of their backcourt and the unquestioned vocal leader of the team, Gasser voiced his confidence in the teammates stepping up to respond to his absence.“George, Traevon (Jackson), Ben (Brust); … we’re not going to skip a beat with me out,” Gasser said. “But the big thing I think we’re going to miss is a vocal guy at the guard position, a leader who’s been there and played a little bit, but that’s something I’ll contribute to even though I’m not out there.”That contribution for Gasser will come in learning a new role in the Wisconsin program: coach. While not able to partake physically, Gasser will be on the sideline for games and practices to give advice and coach the young and developing Badger backcourt.“If I’m going to do that in my future, I’m going to treat this year as a coaching internship,” Gasser said. “It’s good to see a different perspective, get to watch from the sideline, get to watch from courtside.“That’s what guys who have reached out to me have told me: ‘You’re going to learn some stuff that you never would have learned playing out there and you’re going to realize how much you love basketball and that’s going to help you in the long run.’ I’m definitely going to take this opportunity to learn some things off the court.”Follow Nick on Twitter.last_img