Virginia Loses Veteran Starter Braxton Key To Wrist Injury, Return Unknown

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Jon Golden

Seventh-ranked Virginia will have to go into Purdue next Wednesday without its leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, senior Braxton Key.

Key had surgery on his wrist after landing on it late in the Arizona State game in Sunday’s finals of the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament in Connecticut. The timetable for his return is uncertain according to UVA coach Tony Bennett.

Key, who averaged 10.3 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game, showed up at Wednesday afternoon’s 46-26 win over visiting Maine sporting a soft cast and his arm in a sling. However, Key left at halftime and did not return.

“Obviously that’s a tough blow because he brings some heart and effort on the glass and energy defensively, and just his experience,” said Bennett after watching his team improve to 7-0 on the season.

Bennett said Key hurt his wrist at the very end of the ASU game, with maybe only a minute or two remaining.

“He went in for a drive late and just landed on his wrist,” the coach said.

When asked if Key broke his wrist, Bennett declined to confirm.

“I’m just supposed to say he had surgery, the surgery was a success, and there’s not a timetable,” Bennett said.

UVA center Jay Huff said he heard about the injury soon after the team returned from Connecticut.

“[Key] went to the doctor pretty immediately when he got back from the tournament,” Huff said. “It changes some things, but he’ll be back soon. We have one of the best medical staffs in the country.”

It is uncertain if Key’s injury is similar to former UVA player De’Andre Hunter’s when he fell at the end of the Cavaliers game in the ACC Tournament semifinals a couple of years ago, and missed the postseason. Hunter didn’t heal for several weeks.

The Cavaliers are essentially two starters down at the moment with sophomore guard Kody Stattmann having missed the last four games with an illness.

“Hopefully, Kody will get healthier, he seems to be moving in the right direction,” Bennett said.

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