April 24, 2010

By Jeff White (jwhite@virginia.edu)

CHARLOTTESVILLE — He’s on crutches these days, but Sammy Zeglinski expects to be back on the basketball court in the not-too-distant future, preparing for his junior season at UVa.

For the final two months of the 2009-10 season, Zeglinski played in pain, one reason his shooting percentage plummeted after ACC games began. He thought he might have a sports hernia, but the problem, UVa’s medical staff determined, was in the 6-0 guard’s left hip.

He’s not sure what caused the injury, Zeglinski said Friday at John Paul Jones Arena, “but it started to catch up on me a lot. It would lock up a lot.”

Zeglinski didn’t miss a game, thanks to his grit and the efforts of trainer Ethan Saliba and strength-and-conditioning coach Mike Curtis, but he had surgery last week on his hip. The injury turned out to be substantial.

“It was pretty aggravated,” Zeglinski. “I had some loose pieces in there, floating around. Pieces of my hip kind of shattered off a little bit, and they actually needed to reshape my hip, take some pieces off it, because it was catching on my socket a little bit and causing some tendons to get inflamed and stuff.”

Despite the injury, Zeglinski scored a season-high 21 points in UVa’s 68-62 win over Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament last month.

Zeglinski “was in a lot of pain at the end of the year with some issues, and he fought through it,” Tony Bennett said. “I think [doctors] feel very good about the prognosis.”

All-ACC guard Sean Singletary — who also preceded Zeglinski at Penn Charter School in Philadelphia — had a similar operation during his career at UVa and made a full recovery.

This is the second significant injury Zeglinski has dealt with at UVa. He played only eight games as a freshman in 2007-08 and, after having surgery on his right ankle, was granted a hardship waiver that gave him another season of eligibility.

While his teammates trained Friday afternoon on the main court in the JPJ men’s practice gym, Zeglinski sat on a training table in front of a side basket and shot 12-footers, working on his form.

His hip, he said, “feels pretty good. I’m only a week out of surgery, and I feel like it’s getting strong.”

As a redshirt sophomore in 2009-10, Zeglinski started 29 games and averaged 8.9 points per game, third-best on the team. He made a team-high 61 3-pointers and shot 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. In ACC games, however, his 3-point percentage was only 28.9.

“It explains why he was having trouble,” Bennett said of Zeglinski’s injury.

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