Spencer Hawes' Washington debut won't include as much Hoopla as hoped.
The 6-foot-11 freshman center from Seattle Prep, who may be the most highly regarded basketball recruit in school history, had planned to make his public debut in a Washington uniform at Friday's Husky Hoopla event.
Instead, the school announced Tuesday that Hawes will undergo arthroscopic surgery today to remove a loose particle in his right knee. He will be out two to four weeks, which means he could miss UW's exhibition contest against Saint Martin's on Nov. 3 but would likely be back by the regular-season opener against Pepperdine on Nov. 12.
Four weeks would put Hawes' return at Nov. 7. "From what I understand, that's the maximum," coach Lorenzo Romar said.
But even at that, Romar said, "It's not a major setback."
Husky Hoopla, 30 minutes after volleyball match
The Huskies begin practice this weekend with the Husky Hoopla event, which will be held at Edmundson Pavilion and was organized in part to take advantage of the excitement of the team's highly touted four-man freshman class, led by Hawes.
Romar considers the first week or two of practice to be extremely important in developing team chemistry and knowledge of his system.
But he pointed out that Hawes has been around the program almost daily since committing to UW in the fall of 2005. Also, Romar coached Hawes during last summer's FIBA Americas under-18 Championships, which allowed Hawes to get familiar with UW's system.
Hawes is the latest Husky to hit the shelf. Center Joe Wolfinger will miss much of the season with a stress fracture in his foot. Guard Joel Smith is sidelined with a similar injury and might not be back until the opener. Reserve center Hans Gasser has been bothered by a shoulder separation, and walk-on guard Brandon Burmeister has been out with a foot injury.
Romar said Gasser should be available for Husky Hoopla, which would give UW 10 players for that event.
Hawes said he began feeling pain in his knee a few weeks ago and after having it checked out decided to have the surgery now, "so it doesn't flare up in the future."
Hawes also had minor surgery on both knees in 2003 that he said was to correct problems associated with growing too quickly.
"I've been through this," he said. "I've been a lot more worried about other stuff than this."
Hawes said the biggest concern is whether he falls out of shape. But Romar cited the fact that Hawes recently ran a 5:22 mile as proof that he is in superb shape and said he didn't think it would take Hawes long to get back.