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Hawkeyes Big Man Cordell Pemsl to Have Season Ending Surgery

Could this ultimately be a good thing?

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The 6-0 Iowa Hawkeyes are red hot right now. I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. Going into a season where many prognosticators (including yours truly) didn’t exactly know what to expect from a team littered with talent on paper but little proof on the court, it’s been a fulfilling start to the non-conference schedule that should pay dividends down the stretch.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s all glitter and gold in Iowa City. Yesterday, before Iowa’s 69-68 victory of the Pitt Panthers, Fran McCaffery and company announced that big man Cordell Pemsl will have season ending surgery next month after final exams to fix some loss nuts and bolts near his knee.

Per Iowa Men’s Basketball Associate Athletic Communications Director Matthew Weitzel:

“Cordell’s procedure is to remove hardware near his knee from a previous surgery when he was in high school,” said McCaffery. “It was hoped this procedure could wait until the end of the season, but is now determined the hardware removal is necessary before he will be able to return to the court.

“Cordell really worked hard preparing for his junior season and this is an unfortunate setback. We will submit a medical hardship waiver request to the Big Ten Conference after the season.”

While it’s unfortunate that Pemsl will miss this season, it could ultimately be a net positive for Iowa in the long term. Not only should Pemsl be granted the medical hardship waiver (giving Iowa a back up plan if Tyler Cook jumps to the NBA after the season), but it will also force McCaffery to continue going to battle with a shortened rotation — something Iowa fans have be clamoring for for a few seasons now. It’s no secret that when given the opportunity to play with all of his toys, McCaffery relishes it.

Granted, big man depth could become an issue with Jack Nunge redshirting this season as well, but this more athletic, versatile lineups has seemed to work better than expected for the first six games of the season.

Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for the junior forward.