Shabazz Muhammad Injury: Why UCLA Freshman Will Still Shine in Freshman Season

Chris HummerAnalyst IOctober 27, 2012

Mar 24, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds High School All American guard Shabazz Muhammad (15) poses during a photo shoot for the 35th McDonalds High School All American Game to be held at the United Center.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Shabazz Muhammad has not had the best start to his UCLA career, but the superstar freshman will still rebound from his injury to put up All-American-caliber numbers during his freshman season.

The 6'6" shooting guard started off the offseason by sustaining an ankle injury that coach Ben Howland termed as "one of the worst" he had ever seen.

Muhammad is also currently under investigation by the NCAA regarding his amateur status, and has yet to be cleared to play this season with less than two weeks until UCLA's season opener on Nov. 9.

Now, Muhammad will have to deal with his latest road block: a strained right shoulder that will keep him out for two weeks. (via Sporting News.)

"It could be as little as two weeks; it could be as long as four," Howland said. "Talking to two surgeons, the top people on it, I'm confident he'll be back here in two or three weeks.

"He had missed the vast majority of the summer, and he was just coming around. This is an unfortunate break. We've had a bunch of little nagging things. It's hard to get out of the gate fast when you don't have everybody together, on the same page."

Muhammad may not be able to work with his teammates over the next few weeks, but it won't take him long to get adjusted when he returns to the lineup.

He's that talented.

He was the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation (by Rivals and Scout) and is a rare blend of athletic ability and scoring prowess that only comes along a few times in a generation.

Muhammad has the length and the speed to attack the rim at will, and his shooting touch from the outside makes him deadly.

His skills will translate quickly to the college game, and Pac-12 teams will have a difficult time containing him. He actually has a quite similar game to O.J. Mayo when he played at USC. He’s a gifted, almost effortless scorer, with a little work to do on the defensive side of the floor to be a complete ball player.

Still, Muhammad will be able to come in and put up huge numbers immediately, even in Howland's slow-paced attack.

The injury may be a setback right now, but if Muhammad is cleared to play, expect him to steal the spotlight from Kentucky’s elite group of freshman and contend for an All-American spot.