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Northwestern Wildcats Freshman Rapolas Ivanauskas to Miss 2016-2017 Season

Northwestern announced this afternoon incoming freshman forward, Rapolas Ivanauskas will miss this upcoming season with a shoulder injury.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Michigan vs Northwestern Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats took a tough hit this afternoon as they announced freshman Rapolas Ivanauskas will miss this upcoming season due injury.

The release by Northwestern's athletic department states that he will have shoulder surgery but is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to go for the 2017-2018 season.

Chris Collins added his thoughts in the release.

"We're disappointed for Rapolas as he's worked extremely hard this summer alongside his teammates," said Northwestern head men's basketball coach Chris Collins. "I know that he will attack his rehab with the same attitude and energy that he has on the court. We expect a full recovery in 4-6 months, and look forward to a very bright future with the Wildcats."

While Ivanauskas would have most likely been a player to come off of the bench this season, he would have had an impact on the Wildcats this season. With the graduation of Alex Olah and Tre Demps, Ivanauskas’ scoring ability would have benefited Northwestern.

A forward out of Barrington, Illinois, Ivanauskas played his first three years of high school basketball at Barrington High School before spending his senior year at Brewster Academy in New Jersey. He was the first in his class to commit to Northwestern. He was a high three-start recruit and the fourth-best player in the state of Illinois.

Ivanauskas spent the summer at Northwestern practicing with the team and preparing for the upcoming season. While the details of his injury have not been released, surgery will require him to be out for the season and he should be recovered in time to begin off-season practice following the completion of the 2016-2017 season. Because his injury was announced before the start of the season, he will mostlikely receive a medical redshirt from the NCAA.

Here is his highlight reel from high school:

While it is not known how much he would have impacted the team this season, Ivanauskas would have been a player to come off the bench and score for Northwestern. With the return of Vic Law to the lineup, he most likely would have come in to relieve Law, Sanjay Lumpkin, Aaron Falzon, or Gavin Skelly.

The Good news for Northwestern is that this season, they have depth at the forward position. So, while Ivanauksas would have helped the team, they still have depth available to fill his minutes. The forwards on the roster are Seniors Nate Taphorn and Sanjay Lumpkin, Junior Gavin Skelly, and redshirt sophomore Vic Law. Scottie Lindsey is also available to play on the wing and take the minutes as well.

This is tough news to hear for Northwestern, a team very close to making their first NCAA Tournament. With Ivanauskas’s injury in the preseason, they should have enough time to prepare with his absence in the season ahead.