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Northwestern’s Drew Crawford shelved for rest of season with shoulder injury

NU senior swingman Drew Crawford will undergo surgery for torn labrum his right shoulder. | David Banks~AP

NU senior swingman Drew Crawford will undergo surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. | David Banks~AP

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Updated: January 16, 2013 6:10AM

It was the worst possible news for Northwestern’s basketball program, but it did solve a mystery. Those wondering why senior swingman Drew Crawford wasn’t playing like his old self now know it’s because he has a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Coach Bill Carmody announced Friday that his leading scorer will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The news was the latest blow to the team’s hopes of qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time. In October, junior guard JerShon Cobb was suspended for the season for academic reasons. Recent losses to Maryland, UIC and Butler weren’t helping the cause, either.

Crawford likely will be awarded a medical-hardship waiver that would allow him to return for a fifth year next season, according to a source.

Cobb and Crawford combined to average 23 points last season. Even with Crawford, Carmody’s team had struggled offensively while building a 7-3 record. If both return next season, it could set the Wildcats up for a long-awaited NCAA tournament run after the 2013-14 season.

“Drew’s situation is similar to Tre Demps’ a year ago,” Carmody said in a statement. “Drew aggravated a previous injury in early September and attempted to play through it, but it just hasn’t responded as well as we would have liked.”

Crawford started all 10 games for Northwestern and was expected to carry much of the offensive load. He was averaging 13.5 points and shooting 40 percent from the field. He averaged 16.1 points, shot 48 percent and made third-team All-Big Ten last season.

“While it obviously hurts to lose a player of Drew’s caliber, it provides an opportunity for his teammates to step up and contribute,” Carmody said.

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