Ryan Luther, a senior forward from Gibsonia, Pa., will miss the remainder of the season due to a stress reaction in his right foot. He missed 12 games a season ago with a stress fracture in the same foot.
“Ryan’s injury has not responded as well as we had hoped and our medical team has recommended shutting him down for the remainder of the season,” said head coach Kevin Stallings. “I know Ryan is frustrated with the injuries to the foot the past two years but everyone involved agrees that it is in his best interest to rest the foot and allow it adequate time to make a complete recovery.”
Luther was in the midst of his best season as a Panther averaging 12.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game prior to the injury. He scored in double figures in eight of the first 10 games of the season and had four double-doubles. Luther grabbed eight or more rebounds in all 10 games and led the Panthers in rebounding in each of the final nine games he played.
“It hurts not to be out on the court and in practice with my teammates,” said Luther. “We have a good young core of players that I believe are going to continue to improve each day. I was hopeful that the latest MRI would show solid improvement in the foot but it was pretty clear that it has not responded well enough to return to action without the threat of it becoming a stress fracture like last season.”
Luther played in the first 10 games of the season and will be eligible to apply for a medical hardship. Under NCAA rules, players must play less than 30 percent of a team’s games over the first half of the season to remain eligible to apply for a medical hardship.
“I am going to apply for a medical hardship and hope to remain at the University of Pittsburgh for another season,” said Luther. “I love my coaches and teammates and believe in what we are building. This university and the city of Pittsburgh are home to me. I am anxious to get healthy and look forward to doing something special here next season.”
If Luther were granted the medical hardship, Pitt would likely return the bulk of its roster and production just one season after a complete roster overhaul. He would join an incoming class of Bryce Golden, a rugged 6-9 forward out of Maryland, and Danya Kingsby, the No. 2 JUCO combo guard in the country. Pitt will also get a boost from ultra-athletic wing Malik Ellison, who is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
In his absence, Pitt will continue to field one of the youngest teams in the country in the always-challenging ACC. The Panthers have started four or more freshmen in each of the past six games since Luther was sideline, including five freshman starters for the first time in program history at Louisville.
Pitt returns to action Saturday, Jan. 13 against Georgia Tech (2pm – ACC Network).