Kansas third baseman Tony Thompson, the reigning Big 12 Conference player of the year, will miss the first few weeks of the season after fouling a pitch off his kneecap in practice last week. Thompson suffered a hairline fracture of his left kneecap, but an MRI showed no ligament damage or other structural damage, the Jayhawks announced in a release this morning.
Dr. Jeff Randall, KU team physician, is confident that Thompson will be completely healthy within four to six weeks, according to the release. He is receiving treatment from Kansas baseball athletic trainer Ken Wainwright on a daily basis.
“Obviously it goes without saying that this is a devastating way for our team to start the 2010 season,” Jayhawks coach Ritch Price said. “The good news is that Tony will not need surgery, and he will be back in our lineup prior to the start of Big 12 Conference play. Our team will need to come together and find a way to survive until we can get Tony healthy and back on the field.”
Thompson, a second-team preseason All-American, won the Big 12's triple crown as a sophomore in 2009, batting .389 with 21 home runs and 82 RBIs. He is the second star player for a preseason contender to suffer an injury in the last week, joining South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley, who broke his hand. But like the Gamecocks, the Jayhawks are looking on the bright side.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened, but it’s better to have it happen now rather than in the middle of the season,” Thompson said in the release. “I’m just looking forward to getting back on the field before Big 12 play starts, and helping my teammates win games.”
In Thompson’s absence, the Jayhawks are planning to use a combination of sophomore James Stanfield and redshirt freshmen Jordan Dreiling and Jake Marasco to fill in at third base.
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