Klee: Illini standout Brandon Paul suffers broken jaw
CHAMPAIGN - Brandon Paul's final offseason at Illinois is off to a rough start.
Paul has sustained a fractured jaw and is scheduled to have surgery today, coach John Groce said today through a university spokesman.
The team's best player was injured in a pickup game Thursday. There's no timetable set for his return, though Paul is expected to return to the court for non-contact drills in roughly two weeks.
The injury occurred during an inadvertent collision with teammate Devin Langford at Ubben Basketball Complex. Paul was chasing a loose ball when he collided with Langford's shoulder.
The 6-foot-4 rising senior averaged a team-leading 14.7 points last season and is expected to anchor the backcourt in Groce's first season as coach. Paul was named All-Big Ten third team (coaches) and honorable mention (media) as a junior.
Paul has been remarkably durable, playing in all 102 games of his first three seasons at Illinois. He's endured several minor injuries - wrist, knee - but was able to play through those setbacks.
Coincidentally, a standout player suffered a broken jaw in the previous coach's first year on the job. Deron Williams was sidelined with a broken jaw during Bruce Weber's inaugural campaign of 2003-04.