CHAMPAIGN — Defending NCAA champion C.J. Maestas will miss the 2013 season due to a triceps injury, Illinois men’s gymnastics coach Justin Spring announced Monday.
The injury occurred during practice as the 2012 still rings titlist was training in floor exercise.
“C.J. is irreplaceable as an athlete, a person and an energy source in the gym,” Spring said. “He is doing a great job and is continuing to push others, be a leader and keep positive energy in the gym.
“Now, it’s up to the other guys to step up. C.J. is still going to be there to help us along the way, even if it’s not on the competition floor.”
Maestas underwent surgery over Thanksgiving weekend. The sophomore, a four-time U.S. Senior National Team member, is expected to be ready to compete by the 2013 U.S. Championships in August at Hartford, Conn.
As a freshman, Maestas turned in one of the greatest seasons by a UI gymnast in program history. In addition to becoming the first Illini ever to win an NCAA title in still rings, Maestas won the Big Ten all-around crown and was selected Big Ten Gymnast and Freshman of the Year.
The three-time All-American also placed second in the NCAA all-around and helped boost Illinois to its first national team title since 1989.