Akil Mitchell injury: Virginia forward out 6-8 weeks with broken hand

Lance King

One of the best defensive players in the ACC will be enjoying summer from the sidelines after breaking a bone in his this week.

Virginia Cavaliers forward Akil Mitchell broke his hand during the LeBron James Skill Academy and will need four to six weeks to recover, The Daily Progress reported on Wednesday.

According to coach Tony Bennett, Mitchell broke a bone in his right hand, although he isn't sure which bone is injured. He also expects a full recovery.

Mitchell took a big step forward last season as he took over a starting role. Mitchell was the second leading scorer for Virginia last season, averaging 13.1 points per game. He also led the team in rebounds with 8.9 per game. He was rated as the best defensive player in the ACC last season and had the highest defensive rebound percentage in the conference as well, which helped earn him honors to the All-ACC third team.

Mitchell is the second Virginia player to get bit by the injury bug in the offseason. Senior Joe Harris was sidelined from the World University Games tryout in June because of a stress fracture in his left foot.

Always the optimist, Bennett told the Daily Progress the silver lining is that the injury will help his seniors be well rested for their final season of college basketball.

"These guys are going into their last year and sometimes it forces them...to have to take a little time off - not a crazy amount - to really refresh their bodies...I think it will refresh them, and then as long as there are no complications - which we don't expect with them - they'll be ready to go in plenty of time once we get back into school and all that stuff."

For whatever reason Mitchell isn't ready by the time the season starts, the Cavaliers are well stocked in the front court. 6'11 forward Mike Tobey will be a sophomore and is expected to take a bigger role. Virginia also has Anthony Gill available to play after sitting out a year after transferring from South Carolina.

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