SU guard Rautins severs ACL; will miss 2007-08 season

By John Clayton Daily Orange

August 27, 2007

Syracuse, NY (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The conventional thinking for the 2007-08 Syracuse men's basketball team was that depth on the perimeter would be a major strength.

That logic will be put to test after an MRI Thursday revealed Andy Rautins' season was over before it had even begun. The junior guard suffered a severed anterior cruciate ligament and a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee while playing for Canada at the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.

Rautins will be redshirted for the upcoming season while he concentrates on his rehab, his father and Canada head coach Leo Rautins said via telephone.

"It's tough. He's been up and down," Leo Rautins said of his son's spirits since suffering the injury. "He really wanted this bad. He's been having a great summer. He had a real important role with this team, but unfortunately this happened. But he's having good days and bad days. He'll be fine, he just has to get through this emotional part right now."

Andy Rautins averaged 7.2 points per game last season for the Orange, and he contributed heavily from beyond the arc. Of his 84 baskets last season, 67 were 3-pointers. The injury leaves the Orange with five guards expected to compete for playing time: junior Eric Devendorf, senior Josh Wright, sophomore Paul Harris and freshmen Jonny Flynn and Antonio "Scoop" Jardine.

Rautins suffered the injury Wednesday in the second quarter of Canada's loss to Brazil at the FIBA Tournament. While changing direction as he was guarding Brazil and Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa, Rautins' left knee gave out and he crumpled to the hardwood.

"I've been watching him play his whole career, so as soon as he went down, I knew it was bad," Leo Rautins said. "There was a pop heard on the bench as well. When he went down, he went down like somebody shot him, so I knew right away it was a pretty serious injury."

The good news for both Rautins and Syracuse is there was no permanent structural damage inflicted on the bone and cartilage in his left knee. The junior should be able to return to full health in a minimum of six months, Leo Rautins said.

"For what this injury is, it's as good as you can get," he said.

No date for surgery has been set yet, Rautins said. The doctors will wait for the injury to "settle down" and for Andy Rautins to start some light rehab work before actually performing surgery.

The elder Rautins is no stranger to ACL tears. Leo, who also played collegiately at Syracuse, snapped his own at age 30 while playing professionally in Europe. He was back playing professional basketball six months later.

"If you can do it at 30, you can do it at 20," he said.

Those are small consolations right now for the Syracuse guard. Andy Rautins was having a stellar summer playing for Canada. He was Canada's leading scorer at the Pan-American games, averaging 13.4 points per game. Prior to the injury, all signs were pointed toward Rautins taking a step up in production his junior year.

"There's two ways of looking at it," Leo Rautins said. "Was the timing great? No. He was playing as well as he's ever played-better than he's ever played. And he was looking forward to taking a leadership role at Syracuse. But having said all that, I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason."

(C) 2007 Daily Orange via CSTV U-WIRE