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Ex-Nevada coach Eric Musselman will miss two games at Arkansas following surgery

Eric Musselman
Eric Musselman led Arkansas to the Elite 8 last season. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Former Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman, who is in his third season at Arkansas, had surgery Thursday and will miss the Razorbacks' next two games.

Musselman tore his rotator cuff on Dec. 23 after Trey Wade, a one-time Wolf Pack commitment, accidentally landed on him in practice. Musselman was hoping to defer surgery until after the season but was having trouble sleeping, especially on the road. The 57-year-old coach had successful surgery "to repair a full tear of the supraspinatus tendon and partial tears to the infraspinatus and subscapularis tendons in his left shoulder," per Arkansas.

“Almost six weeks ago, Coach Musselman sustained a significant shoulder injury in practice after a collision with a player," surgeon Wesley K. Cox said in a news release. "An MRI confirmed his shoulder had torn tendons and would require surgery. The goal was to use daily physical therapy and treatment as well as a steroid injection to delay the surgery as many weeks as we could, none of which have offered any significant improvement. At this time, surgery to repair the tears was necessary due to the amount of pain and instability he was experiencing and to mitigate the risk for significant complications in the future. Coach Musselman is expected to do very well and ultimately make a full recovery.”

First-year assistant coach Keith Smart will serve as Arkansas' interim coach for at least the next two games, including contests at No. 12 LSU on Saturday and a home game with South Carolina on Tuesday. Smart has been the head coach of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings and CBA's Fort Wayne Fury. He was an assistant coach for Musselman when Musselman was the Warriors' head coach in 2003-04.

Arkansas, which reached the Elite 8 last year, started the 2021-22 season 9-0 but went 1-5 in its next six games before an 87-43 win over Missouri on Wednesday, the team's first SEC victory of the year. The Razorbacks are 11-5 overall, 1-3 in the SEC and currently not projected to make the NCAA Tournament in ESPN's latest Bracketology, also not ranking in the First Four Out or Next Four Out.

As Nevada's coach from 2015-19, Musselman went 110-34 overall and 52-17 in the MW, winning four conference championships and reaching three NCAA tournaments, including the 2018 Sweet 16. Wade committed to Nevada after transferring out of Wichita State last offseason before de-committing and signing with Arkansas. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward is averaging 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game (16 games). He had his best performance of the season in the win over Missouri, setting season highs in points (17), rebounds (five), assists (three), steals (three) and minutes (32) while adding two blocks.

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