Following an MRI and meeting with multiple specialists, it has been determined that the left knee injury that forced Texas Longhorns forward Jaxson Hayes to the floor and out of action in the final minutes of Texas’ Big 12 Tournament loss to Kansas is merely a bone bruise, and that there is no structural damage.
“After consulting with multiple specialists, it has been determined that there is no structural damage in the left knee of University of Texas freshman forward Jaxson Hayes,” the school said in a statement. “He has a bone bruise in his left knee, and we are expecting him to make a full recovery in a matter of weeks.”
What we now know to be a bone bruise occurred with only 1:58 remaining in Texas’ loss to Kansas last Thursday after a collision with Jayhawks guard Devon Dotson. Hayes had to be helped off of the floor following the collision, unable to apply any pressure to his left knee.
As expected, Hayes went on to watch Texas’ NIT-opening win over South Dakota State from the sidelines, and he’ll likely continue to do the same throughout the remainder of the Longhorns’ season, which could be as many as four more games. If that proves to be the case, then we may very well have seen the last of Hayes in a Longhorns jersey.
In 32 games Hayes this season, the 6’11 Hayes averaged 10 points, five rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per contest en route to honors as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Along the way, the Ohio native, who arrived in Austin ranked outside of the top 100 in his class, has seen his NBA Draft stock skyrocket in short order, climbing into the lottery portion of nearly every updated mock draft. Bleacher Report currently projects Hayes to become the No. 7 overall pick, while CBS Sports slots Hayes just a few spots lower at No. 10 overall.
Considering his immediate NBA upside as one of the top projected talents available for the 2019 NBA Draft, the news that Hayes avoided structural damage and suffered only a bone bruise is as ideal of an outcome as Hayes and the Horns could have hoped for.