UConn star James Bouknight, potential first-round NBA Draft pick, out indefinitely after elbow surgery


UConn star James Bouknight underwent left elbow surgery on Tuesday and is out indefinitely, the team announced Wednesday. Bouknight, a sophomore, sustained the injury last week in the first half of a 65-54 win over Marquette. He returned in the second half and played 28 total minutes but was held scoreless in the final 20 minutes and went 0-for-3 from the floor during that span. The injury came when he dove for a loose ball and a Marquette player fell on his extended left arm.

In an interview on Wednesday with The Field of 68, UConn coach Dan Hurley said Bouknight went to see a specialist but projected optimism about potentially getting him back relatively quickly.

“He’s seeing a specialist today. If he is going to miss more time than just the last two games, I’d imagine it would be just a couple of weeks,” Hurley said. “Obviously we have to be very cautious with everything he’s got in front of him. If he misses more time, it’ll just be maybe a couple of more games.”

Bouknight is the leading scorer for the Huskies and has emerged as a breakout sophomore star in college hoops this season. The Big East’s second-leading scorer while averaging 20.3 points per game, his hot start has thrust him into the All-American conversation and given UConn (7-1) a dream start in its first year rejoining the Big East. The Huskies spent the last seven seasons in the American Athletic Conference.

UConn won its last two games without the injured Bouknight, beating Butler and DePaul on the road this week to improve to 4-1 in league play. But without its best player indefinitely, it’ll be a tough road ahead as Hurley and Co. scramble to resort the roster in his absence. Tyler Polley, RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin should all see an uptick in usage as Bouknight recovers.

Bouknight ended his freshman season on a heater last year with UConn but opted to put the NBA on hold and return for a sophomore season in 2020-21. To this point, his decision has been validated as he’s emerged as a likely first-round pick and potentially a player who could be drafted in the top 10. His appeal as a pro prospect centers around his athleticism and scoring, which was on full display against No. 8 Creighton just before Christmas when he went for 40 points in a 76-74 overtime loss.

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