Update (Tuesday, March 13, 1:50 p.m.): The headline to this story has been changed to reflect the possibility Bruce Brown could come back in 2018, following Jim Larranaga’s comments Tuesday. More on that situation here.
CORAL GABLES — Jim Larranaga left no room for doubt.
Asked Sunday if star sophomore guard Bruce Brown could return for Thursday’s first-round NCAA Tournament game against Loyola-Chicago, he responded with a forceful, “No.”
Brown, who has been out since Jan. 30 — a span of 11 games — will be re-evaluated Monday morning. Doctors may tell him he can put a sneaker on his broken left foot instead of the walking boot he has worn of late. But he won’t be wearing a uniform.
“He hasn’t played in six weeks,” Larranaga said. “It’ll take him six weeks to rehab the foot. You go to the NCAA tournament and you play Bruce Brown, you think he’ll play hard? You’re darn right, and that would that pressure on the danger of him reinjuring it. There’s no chance he will play Thursday.”
Brown, who said he wants to return this year, seemed subdued at UM’s Selection Sunday watch party on campus.
Asked if Brown could return for the NCAA Tournament at all, should Miami make a run, Larranaga said this:
“Let me put it this way: If Bruce decides to come back next year for his [junior] year, then we’ll plan on playing him.”
Which may mean Brown has played his last game in a Miami uniform.
Even with his injury, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard from Boston is widely projected as a first-round NBA draft pick.
“He’s a terrific player,” said freshman Lonnie Walker, himself a projected lottery pick. “He’s a centerpiece. Without him, we’ve got to pick it up and play by faith. It was definitely a sad moment. Bruce is going to be good regardless.”