For the third straight year, an Arizona player's season has ended before it even started.
UA coach Sean Miller said Wednesday that tests confirmed that walk-on guard Kory Jones tore his left ACL after he went down just one possession into an appearance in UA's Aug. 16 exhibition game at Mataro, Spain.
That continues the Wildcats' string of early season bad luck that includes Talbott Denny's torn ACL last year as well as consecutive torn ACLs before the past two seasons to Ray Smith.
"I'm disappointed for him for sure, but he's handled it really well," Miller said of Jones. "I'm glad it happened at the end of the trip and we were able to get him home."
Jones had to be carried off the court following the injury on Aug. 16, and UA staffers suspected it was a torn ACL. But he had too much swelling to be tested in Spain (even before the terrorist attacks filled up hospitals) so he underwent an MRI upon returning to Tucson this week.
While waiting, however, Jones was motivated enough to walk through UA's tour of the FC Barcelona facilities on Aug. 17, a tour that was hugely popular with the Wildcat players.
Denny, meanwhile, did not play in either of UA's two games in Spain while he continues to recover and strengthen following his Aug. 2016 injury.
"Talbott's at the end of the rehabilitation process," Miller said. "He's rehabbed correctly but each one of these guys coming back from knee, lower body injury, they all respond differently and you have to be careful not rushing somebody back, making sure he’s set, that his range of motion is there and making sure he has a great deal of confidence."
Miller said he expected Denny would probably be at full strength by October.
Miller said both Rawle Alkins (shoulder strain) and Emmanuel Akot (knee strain) are fine after both missed time in the Aug. 16 game. Alkins said out all of the game, while Akot missed the second half.
Miller said it was "very frightening" to be just blocks away from the terrorist attack that killed 13 people last Thursday in Barcelona, but said the trip overall was fun.
“It was a trip where I think our guys got a lot of value in their own lives being able to see a country they might not ever see, taking tours that people might look at being once in a lifetime experience," Miller said. "And just the fellowship, the bonding, the team camaraderie that follows a trip like that. You’re just together a lot. That’s great, especially in the summer, because if we weren’t there we’d all be back in our respective hometowns.”
We'll post more on how the attack affected the Wildcats later Wednesday and that story also will be in Thursday's print edition.