UCLA forward Josh Shipp, the top returning scorer from the Bruins' Final Four team, underwent arthroscopic surgery Friday on the opposite hip from the one that cost him a season earlier in his career, but should return in time for next season.
"I talked to Josh after his surgery, and he sounded great," Coach Ben Howland said during a teleconference from Houston, where he was recruiting. "He'll be in school on Monday."
Howland described the procedure as "a proactive approach," and said there was no clear injury before a diagnosis through a magnetic resonance imaging test, although Shipp was in some discomfort the final two weeks of the season.
"I found out on Tuesday," Howland said. "They were doing a precautionary MRI and nobody thought anything, but there was a slight tear -- not a significant tear -- and it was better to be proactive, go in and do the surgery now."
The timing -- in April instead of September -- is the clearest difference between this surgery and the one that cost Shipp most of the 2005-06 season.
The procedure, performed by Dr. Carlos A. Guanche at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys, repaired a torn labrum and included an area of bony overgrowth. The rehabilitation is expected to take eight to 12 weeks, with Shipp on crutches for the first month.
Shipp, a sophomore last season, had a similar surgery on his right hip in 2005. He started 35 of UCLA's 36 games last season, averaging 13.3 points. Since the season ended, the Bruins have lost leading scorer Arron Afflalo, who is making himself available for the NBA draft. Sophomore guard Darren Collison has neither declared for the draft nor ruled it out. The loss of Shipp would have seemed devastating, despite the anticipated arrival of center Kevin Love. But Guanche said he was confident Shipp would return at full strength.
"The surgery went very well, and Josh should be able to begin his rehabilitation next week," Guanche said in a statement. "It is a very common procedure among elite-level athletes such as Josh. I have performed this surgery on NBA, NFL and NHL athletes, and all have returned to their high level of competition."
Shipp's family requested privacy during his first few days of recovery, but his mother, Deborah, said he was doing well.
"We elected to have this surgery as a precautionary measure. It came as a complete surprise to us because Josh played so well this year and his left hip really wasn't bothering him," she said. "But when we learned that he had a small tear in his labrum ... we decided to have the procedure done."