Louisville senior captain and starting center Malik Williams will be sidelined for 12 weeks after undergoing surgery for an injury to his right foot.
Williams made the announcement himself on social media Saturday morning.
Twelve weeks would put Williams out until February, meaning he’ll miss the entire non-conference portion of the season and a solid chunk of ACC play. I think it goes without saying that this is very, very bad news for the 2020-21 Cardinals.
“I feel for Malik,” said U of L Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack in a statement. “He’s everything a coach could ask for in a person, player and captain, so my heart aches for him. Our team will miss his presence on the court during his time away. I feel for our fans as well who love watching and supporting Malik’s play. I have no doubt he will have a successful surgery and do his best to return to the Cardinals. We will support him on and off the floor throughout his absence.”
This marks the second straight year that injuries have sidelined Williams at the beginning of a season because of a right foot injury. He missed the first month and a half of the 2019-20 campaign after suffering a broken bone in his right foot in September. He then suffered an ankle injury in Louisville’s February loss at Florida State that forced him to miss more action at the end of the season.
Before the Florida State game, Williams had scored 11 or more points in five of Louisville’s last six games and had replaced Steven Enoch in the Cardinals’ starting lineup. The junior captain was spectacular in the team’s 90-66 win over Syracuse, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds despite playing just 23 minutes as the Cardinals coasted to victory.
The runner-up in the 2019-20 ACC Sixth Man of the Year voting, Williams scored in double figures on 10 occasions as a junior and 23 times for his career. He was 19th in the ACC in rebounding, averaging 6.1 per game, and finished the season averaging 8.5 ppg.
Whether it’s Aidan Igiehon or Jae’Lyn Withers or somebody else, Louisville is going to have to have someone step up and prove themselves to be a serviceable option in the middle.
With reports and rumors about multiple other injuries up and down the roster, that’s likely not the only spot where Chris Mack is going to need some guys to step up.
Best wishes to Malik on a speedy and complete recovery.