COLUMBIA — Jaron Blossomgame, one of Clemson’s leading hopes for better basketball times, had more surgery on his injured left leg in a procedure he believes will speed up his recovery for next season.
The school said Tuesday that the 6-foot-7 Blossomgame underwent a second operation on his left leg after sustaining a compound fracture during workout while in high school in April 2012.
Blossomgame sat out last season for the Tigers as a medical redshirt.
Blossomgame said in a statement he expected the latest procedure will “jump start” the healing process and get him to full-speed by the time the season starts in November.
“It was determined if I want to be 100 percent by November, the surgery’s the best thing to do,” Blossomgame said. “This should jump-start the healing process. It’s going to help me out in the long run, so I’m not down on myself about it. “
Blossomgame says he’ll begin working out in the pool once the wound heals in a couple of weeks and should start running and shooting by the end of August.
The operation will prevent Blossomgame from traveling on Clemson’s preseason trip to Italy in August. The team begins a four-game schedule against Italian professional teams on Aug. 8. Blossomgame will also not participate in the 10 days of practice the team will have to prepare for the trip.
“It’s a minor setback for Jaron, and it’s unfortunate he won’t be able to play on our trip to Italy,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “We’ve always tried to look at the big picture and do what’s best for Jaron. He needs to feel healthy in order to be at his best.”
Brownell said doctors noticed Blossomgame wasn’t progressing as quickly as expected and chose a second operation to make sure he’d be ready for the fall.
Blossomgame was the highest-rated player in Brownell’s 2012 recruiting class. He is from Alpharetta, Ga., and averaged 25 points a game as a senior at Chattahoochee High near Atlanta.
Doctors told Blossomgame before last season that he could’ve returned to the team in January, but he didn’t want his first games in college to come in the middle of the rigorous Atlantic Coast Conference season.
The Tigers, who were last in ACC scoring and second-to-last in field goal and three-point shooting, will need an explosive scorer like Blossomgame was in high school next fall. Clemson lost 10 of its final 11 games to finish 13-18, the team’s first losing mark in nine years. The Tigers have lost last season’s top scorer and rebounder in Devin Booker, and third-leading scorer Milton Jennings. Both were seniors last year.
K.J. McDaniels, who will be a junior this fall, is Clemson’s only returnee who averaged double-digit scoring last year at 10.9 points a game.
Brownell said Blossomgame is tough-minded and a hard worker, qualities that will help him clear the latest hurdle. Blossomgame promised Clemson fans that once healthy, he’ll show the skills the Tigers need to improve.
“Just stick with me. I’ll get there eventually,” Blossomgame said. “It’s not something that will hold me back. I still plan on contributing this season.”