The Gonzaga Bulldogs announced freshman forward Anton Watson will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season. A date has not been set for the operation.
Watson injured his shoulder early in the season and it popped out repeatedly, seemingly almost every other game. He tried his best to play through it most of the time, but missed four games from the injury. He was heavily limited in minutes in six other games this season.
It is a big blow for the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Watson is probably the best on ball defender on Gonzaga, and his versatility at the wing/four spot allowed Gonzaga to easily slide into a smaller lineup when they wanted. Often times, when Gonzaga was applying full court pressure, Watson was the man at the front line.
It is an unfortunate end to Watson’s season, but ultimately, probably the right decision to make. At some point, Watson was going to need to be shut down in some format so his shoulder would properly heal. At this point, Watson should hopefully be ready to start the 2020-21 season.
Most likely, we can expect to see more of Martynas Arlauskas going forward. The Lithuanian freshman is the most natural replacement for the position of Watson. We might also see more of Pavel Zakharov if Gonzaga wants to continue to run out a four-man rotation of big men.