Feb. 18, 2010
LOS ANGELES - UCLA senior forward James Keefe will have season-ending surgery on his left shoulder next week.
It is the same shoulder that Keefe had surgery on in August of 2007 to repair a torn labrum that caused him to miss the first 12 games of the 2007-08 season.
"I'm very disappointed to be ending my senior year early," Keefe said. "I would have liked to have been able to come back and finish my final season, but as of now, I'm unable to play and my shoulder hasn't improved."
This culminates a series of setbacks that Keefe has had this year. He first injured the shoulder again on Oct. 19, 2009 during the first week of practice. Then after returning to play the first nine games of the season, he suffered a dislocated left shoulder midway through the first half of the Bruins' 100-68 home win over New Mexico State on Dec. 15, 2009. He missed the next three games, but returned in time for UCLA's Pac-10-opening victory over Arizona State on Dec. 31, 2009. Then last week, he reinjured his shoulder in practice on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010.
"I am very disappointed and sad that James Keefe has had to go through all of these issues with his shoulder this year," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "He has handled it very well and I know he is disappointed that he won't be able to finish his senior year."
Keefe had made 13 starts in the 20 games he played this season, averaging 2.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest. He was third on the team with 12 blocked shots this year.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLA and have had a lot of great memories with this basketball program," Keefe added. "It has been a great ride and I look forward to graduating from UCLA this spring."
He will best be remembered for his 18-point, 12-rebound and four-block effort in the Bruins' NCAA Regional Semifinal victory over Western Kentucky during his sophomore year on March 27, 2008. The Bruins led by 21 points at halftime (41-20), but saw their lead shrink to just four points (61-57) with 6:57 left in the game. Keefe scored 11 of his career-high 18 points in the second half, including two huge free throws that put an end to WKU's 8-0 run that saw the Hilltoppers get as close as four points. Those free throws were the start of a 7-0 run by UCLA and WKU never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
"I appreciate all of the hard work and dedication he has given to this program over the last four years," Howland added. "He is on track to graduate and has a bright future ahead of him. We are all so proud of him."