Drew Crawford is done for the season, a harsh blow for a Northwestern team thirsting to make its first NCAA tournament.
Crawford will seek a medical hardship waiver for a fifth season after undergoing shoulder surgery for a torn labrum. School officials are very confident the NCAA will grant that fifth season, saying he would not have been eligible had he played one more game, this exceeding 30 percent of NU’s games.
The swingman played in all 10 of NU’s game this season, and his numbers were down. After averaging 16.1 points per game last season on 48.4 percent shooting, he was scoring 13.5 points on 40 percent shooting.
Against Butler on Saturday in NU’s most recent game, he scored six points on 1-for-8 shooting.
Crawford told the Tribune before the season that he first dislocated the shoulder as a sophomore in a game at Iowa.
“I jumped up for a rebound and got undercut and landed on it,” he said. “I braced myself with my [right] hand and it came out.”
Crawford re-injured the shoulder in September and sat out some practices.
Asked then if it was a concern, he replied: “Nah, it’s feeling strong. With dislocations, that’s how it goes. It weakens a little, but I’ve been working with [athletic trainer] Lanny [Bradford] to get it stronger. It’s feeling good right now.”
Crawford played with kinesio tape, a material that increases pain-free mobility in shoulders.
Crawford and NU coach Bill Carmody will meet with media members Saturday.
“Drew aggravated a previous injury in early September and attempted to play through it, but it just hasn’t responded as we all would have liked,” Carmody said in a statement. “While it obviously hurts to lose a player of Drew’s caliber, it provides an opportunity for his teammates to step up and contribute.”
The 7-3 Wildcats return to the court Monday for a 6 p.m. game against Texas State.
With JerShon Cobb suspended because of poor academic performance, this likely turns into a development year for Northwestern.
Crawford stat slide
Points 16.1 13.5
FG % 48.4 40.0