West Virginia freshman Isaiah Cottrell was out for the season after tearing a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg in the first half of the Northeastern game on December 29.
It was a big blow back then, but bigger when the second great man, Oscar Tshiebwe, decided to leave the program mid-season. That put the once robust depth of the forecourt on thin ice and it is regrettable that the minutes freed by Tshiebwe would have gone to Cottrell.
The loss of Cottrell also hurt from the perspective that he was clearly the most skilled of the group. Prior to the injury, Cottrell had played in all 10 games up to that point, averaging 1.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game as he began to play a bigger role on the team.
“You have a 6-foot-10 man who can stretch the floor as much as he can. He’s a really good jump shooter and can pass. His skills surpass any other size we have in terms of skill, ”said head coach Bob Huggins of the newcomer.
A torn Achilles isn’t a common injury to return from, and he’ll get the talented freshman out of the way for at least the entire season, but his recovery is already underway.
“According to his mother, the operation went as well as possible. It was a very good operation. Isaiah has already started doing what they allow him to do at this point, which is obviously not very much right now, ”said Huggins. “But he’s already doing that, and he will continue to do so.”
There’s no timeline for anything like this, but Huggins understands that some patience is required as it’s not a common injury at this level.
“Of course you don’t want to rush it. The child has a great future, ”said Huggins.
Meanwhile, Cottrell continues to aim to get back on the ground. Huggins told a story he got himself practicing after the injury just to watch and be with his teammates even though he didn’t get a chance to lie on the ground.
This is in stark contrast to some of the behaviors that have developed among the greats in recent years. But the operation is complete, and Cottrell is currently in rehab and is on his way to putting on a West Virginia uniform again.
“Isaiah wants to play. And something I love is that he wants to do it in a West Virginia uniform. He wants to play in West Virginia, he wants to represent the state. He loves the state, he loves the people, so he’s on a mission to come back and play, ”said Huggins.