GamecockCentral - Minaya officially makes redshirt decision (Updated with quotes)
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Minaya officially makes redshirt decision (Updated with quotes)

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS BASKETBALL

After months of rehab and trying to get back on the court, Justin Minaya will officially miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Frank Martin announced the sophomore's decision prior to South Carolina's game against Arkansas Saturday.

Minaya will take a redshirt this year and focus on rehab before returning at full strength next season as a redshirt sophomore.

Also see: Insider notes from Friday's baseball scrimmage

Minaya seriously injured his knee before the Gamecocks' Nov. 26 game against Wofford and has not played since, missing the last 17 games.

The sophomore wing had knee surgery the week after his injury and has been working on rehabbing since then.

He's made some strides, now able to run and do some shooting in practice and before games, but still hasn't been fully cleared to return full-bore to practice.

There was a small chance he could have returned this season, but the Gamecocks only have eight regular season games left after Saturday and it just wasn't in the plans for Minaya to return to the lineup.

"He did not make the progress from a strength standpoint that we thought he was going to make," Martin said earlier in the week. "He's doing some running and moving around, but that leg is not as strong as it needs to be to be cleared for practice."

Also see: What are the Gamecocks getting in Jaquaze Sorrells?

In his freshman year, Minaya became a key player on the team, developing into the Gamecocks' best defender. He only missed one game last season with 30 starts, averaging 7.9 points and averaging 26.9 minutes.

The year before the injury, he was averaging 7.4 points and 25.6 minutes.

UPDATED:

After the game, Martin talked about Minaya's decision. He said Minaya was an "emotional trainwreck." Here's what Martin said (with minor edits for clarity)"

"He’s been a train wreck emotionally. He feels he should have been healthier two weeks ago and that he is letting his team down. That’s why this is the right decision. He’ll be practicing soon. He hasn’t done anything since November.

Burn a year so he can play maybe four games at the end of the year? It doesn’t make any sense. We needed to give him closure, help him get closure so he can be at peace. He’s disappointed, but I told him some things are beyond control.

Him going out there right now would be for one thing and one thing only, the University of South Carolina’s benefit. It doesn’t benefit Justin Minaya in any way. This allows him to catch his breath and not be in a rush."