PROVIDENCE — As Kris Dunn’s high school coach noted, “You really have to feel for the young man.”
You feel for the youngster because all roads pointed to the 2013-14 season as one that held much promise. The 19-year-old point guard from nearby New London, Conn. was healthy and ready to serve as the conductor of the Friars’ offense.
Yet in a chilling reminder that even the best-laid plans can vanish in a cloud of smoke, one nasty spill in a preseason game ended up changing the fortune and expectations of both Dunn and the Providence team.
The worst-kept secret was made official Wednesday as PC announced that Dunn will miss the remainder of the season and undergo surgery on his right shoulder, the same shoulder that was operated on the summer prior to enrolling at the college.
Dunn re-injured the shoulder tracking down a loose ball in front of his team’s bench during the first half of the Nov. 2 preseason game against Rhode Island College.
“How unfortunate and too bad,” sighed Craig Parker, who coached Dunn at New London High School. His sentiment is no doubt shared by PC’s Ed Cooley, who is looking down the barrel at playing the rest of the season without the services of a classic ball distributor.
“It’s something you definitely don’t want to hear,” Parker continued. “Kris worked so hard to get to this point prior to the injury and become the player that he was. To have this setback again, it’s just ‘wow.’ With Kris, it looked like (Providence) had an opportunity to have a nice season this year. Hopefully that’s still the case, but it’s certainly going to be difficult without him.”
Dunn is expected to have the surgery sometime over the next few weeks. His father, John Seldon, told the New London Day that Dunn was still dealing with some lingering pain in his shoulder prior to the game with the Anchormen.
“He played in that game and had pain in that shoulder and rolled on it and made it slide out,” Seldon relayed to the Connecticut newspaper. “The doctors looked at it and said fight through the pain or have an operation. Kris wanted to fight through the pain, but it’s not worth it. He’d probably do more damage.
“You can call it a fluke accident. I don’t know,” Seldon continued.
Dunn missed the first nine games of his freshman year before appearing in the final 25 games of PC’s 2012-13 campaign. He sat out the first three games of this season before returning to the lineup Nov. 18 against Vermont. Following his 21-minute, eight-assist showing against the Catamounts, Dunn went on to play in all three of Providence’s games at the Paradise Jam.
His fourth and final game of the season took place Nov. 25 against Maryland, a four-turnover, one-assist showing in 23 minutes against eventual Paradise Jam champion Maryland.
In a release distributed by PC, the school stated that it plans to apply for a medical hardship waiver with the Big East. If Dunn is granted the waiver, he’ll have three years of eligibility left at Providence starting with the 2014-15 season.
“We are looking forward to assisting Kris as he recovers from his surgery,” Cooley said in a statement issued by PC. “His health and well-being are our primary concern. There is no question that he will rebound from this and continue to improve as a basketball player. We are confident that Kris will be a key member of our team in 2014-15.”
Stated Parker, “Hopefully everything works out where he becomes healthy and gets on with his basketball career.”
Parker noted that plans are currently in the works for New London to retire Dunn’s jersey number at a home game this winter.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03