The UW Sports Medicine staff announced Monday that junior forward Jon Leuer fractured his left wrist in the Purdue game last Saturday and would be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery. Soon the fans who post on the Badger Nation message board were attempting to analyze the prognosis, talking about FOOSH (Fall On Out-Stretched Hand) injuries and scaphoid bones, and attacking each other's medical credentials.
Meanwhile, head coach Bo Ryan and his staff were trying to figure out how to make up for the 15 points, six rebounds and 28 minutes Leuer has been tallying each game this season. But what makes Leuer one of the best basketball players in the Big Ten, a perfect fit for Ryan's swing offense, isn't reflected in those stats.
The swing values players who can score from anyplace on the floor, especially big men who can shoot from outside. Leuer learned to play basketball as a guard, but a nine-inch growth spurt in high school transformed him into a post player, albeit one with an outside shooting touch (he's 11 of 31 from three-point range this season). That means the big dudes who guard him are often pulled away from the hoop - which, in turn, opens up the paint for the guards to drive.
In senior Trevon Hughes, the Badgers have one of the best driving guards in the country. But with Leuer out, Hughes' opportunities to score off the drive will decrease unless Ryan can find another smooth-shooting forward to drag the big bodies out of Hughes' way.