- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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All is good again at Gonzaga after star sophomore forward Austin Daye was told Thursday that he doesn't have a torn ACL that will require surgery and jeopardize his status for the upcoming season.
Daye was told by doctors at UCLA that he has a bone bruise and a minor, low-grade tear that won't require surgery. Instead, Daye and his parents Darren and Tamara said Thursday that he simply needs to rest the next three weeks.
Over the weekend, the first reading of an MRI produced a diagnosis that he had a torn ACL, would need surgery and could be gone for six to 12 months. The injury, which was first believed to be a tendon injury in his hamstring, occurred during drills at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy on July 8 in Akron, Ohio.
Daye was told Thursday that he shouldn't have any problem playing for the Zags next season after strengthening his right knee this summer.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster week," Daye said by phone Thursday. "Now I'm getting off the ride."
Daye said he was really sad when he was first told he would need surgery. He said he was even more down realizing that the Zags had a top 10 preseason ranking and high-profile nonconference schedule that included the loaded Orlando Old Spice Classic (which includes Michigan State and Georgetown), games against Connecticut in Seattle, Arizona in Phoenix and at Tennessee.
"I was really emotional," Daye said. "I just didn't want to miss so much time. We've got one of the best teams and schedules in the country. I wasn't expecting any of this when they first told me [in Akron] that it was my hamstring. Then the ACL came out of nowhere [from the first doctor in L.A.]. Then we met with two more doctors who gave me better news."
Daye said he hopes to be back to normal within three to four weeks. He said he plans on strengthening his knee prior to the season.
His mother said the initial diagnosis was "wrong." She said it was hard to get a grasp on so many differing opinions.
Tamara and Darren Daye got Austin with doctors from the L.A. Lakers and at UCLA for other opinions. They said the fact Austin ran through a terminal to catch a flight back from Akron indicated he couldn't have torn his ACL.
"It's all very good news now," said Darren Daye, a former NBA guard.
Austin Daye averaged 10.5 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Zags last season as a freshman. He is expected to team up with WCC player of the year point guard Jeremy Pargo, guards Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray and Micah Downs and center Josh Heytvelt to form the top scoring team in the WCC.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and associate head coach Leon Rice witnessed Daye fall to the court at Akron last week. They ran to his aid but then were relieved when told it was a hamstring. They were distraught at the first ACL news.
Few was unavailable for comment Thursday. But according to at least one member of the staff, the Zags were relieved to hear the latest news that Daye won't need surgery and should be ready to go for the season in the fall.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.