Key Washington recruit Hawes to have knee surgery

Updated: October 11, 2006, 2:43 AM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Washington's heralded freshman center Spencer Hawes is expected to miss two to four weeks after arthroscopic surgery, but should return in time for the Huskies' season opener.

Coach Lorenzo Romar announced Tuesday that the 7-footer would have a loose particle removed from his right knee this week. The loose piece has been in his knee for a couple of years, but only recently became uncomfortable, Hawes said.

With the season opener not until Nov. 12 against Pepperdine, Hawes decided to have the surgery now.

"It just started bugging me now," he said.

"This is obviously a setback for Spencer and our program," Romar said in a statement. "But we are very optimistic based on what we have been told that he shouldn't be out for very long."

Hawes was the centerpiece of Washington's recruiting class, and was rated the No. 2 prospect in the country by some recruiting services. The Seattle Prep High School product averaged 19.9 points and 11.3 rebounds as a senior in leading his school to the Washington Class 3A state championship, and was The Associated Press state player of the year.

Hawes was also named to the McDonald's All-America team, and played under Romar as part of the United States team at the FIBA Americas under-18 championships last summer. That team used a similar system to the Huskies, so Hawes doesn't expect to fall behind in practice, which begins on Friday.

"We ran it for three straight weeks. I think I got a pretty good grasp on the basics of the stuff we do," Hawes said. "Hopefully it will be a review when I get back into it more."

Hawes' surgery adds to Washington's injury list. Joel Smith and Joe Wolfinger are out with stress fractures, Brandon Burmeister has a foot injury and Hans Gasser is recovering from a shoulder separation suffered during the summer.

"I don't think there's any trend to it. I think it's just bad luck compiling at the same time," Hawes said.

Hawes was a high school teammate of the Portland Trail Blazers' Martell Webster. His father, Jeff, played basketball at Washington and his uncle, Steve Hawes, played 10 seasons in the NBA.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press