Paul, who averaged a team-high 14.7 points per game this past season, collided with teammate Devin Langford in the pick-up game, suffering the injury.
Believe it or not, Illinois fans have seen a situation like this in the past, and like Paul, it also involved the team’s top guard during the first year of a new head coach. Deron Williams suffered a broken jaw prior to the start of the 2003-04 season, the first under Bruce Weber. The Illini fired Weber this past spring, hiring Ohio’s John Groce as his replacement.
Paul tested the NBA Draft waters this past spring, but the senior-to-be will return next season to guide an Illini team that ended this past year on a downward spiral. Illinois finished the year at 17-15 overall,going just 6-12 within the Big Ten.
Paul, a 6-foot-4 guard and Illinois-native, burst onto the scene this past season with a 43-point outing in the Illini’s 79-74 victory over Ohio State. Paul shot 80% (8-of-10) from beyond the arc, leading Illinois to the upset. However, that game also marked a turning point for their season, as the Illini dropped nine of their next ten games.
As of now, there is no set timetable for Paul’s return, although reports indicate that he will return to non-contact drills within a two-week window.
Paul was named All-Big Ten third team this past season as a junior, while he is expected to be the key focal point for Groce in 2012-13.
In addition to his 14.7 points, Paul also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
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