Major-college prospect Mitchell Ballock of Eudora High will have surgery Monday in Lawrence to repair a torn labrum in his left (shooting) shoulder. It is likely the 6-foot-4 combo guard will miss his entire junior season.
Mitchell’s mom, LaDonna Ballock, explained the situation.
“His freshman year, he had an injury to his shoulder that we just kind of rode out,” LaDonna Ballock said. “We have to have it fixed. It was not a matter of if, but when.”
Mitch, a standout for KC Run GMC who is ranked No. 37 nationally in the recruiting Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, had played with pain at various junctures the past couple of seasons.
“It was getting to the point it was happening more frequently and hurting longer,” LaDonna said. “If he didn’t do it now, there was no guarantee he’d play the whole season. He’d sit more than be on the floor. That’s why it’s decided now is the time. He’s been playing pick-up games, runs into a screen and it happens and his arm is toast awhile. With arms up, somebody might catch your elbow. The frequency and intensity (of pain) made it necessary to have it done now.”
Ballock has received scholarship offers from Kansas, Iowa State, Indiana, Kansas State, Creighton, Missouri, Northwestern, UNLV and others.
“Oh my goodness, it’s been very touching,” LaDonna Ballock said of coaches calling and texting their best wishes. “(They say) what can I do to lift his spirits, your spirits? Northwestern in Chicago said they have two guys on their team that had the surgery, one two years ago and is doing wonderfully.
“Nick Collison suffered the same thing at KU (had both shoulders repaired and missed the entire 2003-04 NBA season). The doctor said Wayne Simien had a shoulder problem (at KU). You can play with a lot of pain,” LaDonna added, “there are cortisone shots you can do to keep going. That’s not available to him (as high schooler). Over the years we’ve talked to trainers. There have been a couple doctors (parents of players) on Mitchell’s AAU team. We’ve talked off and on about it. We knew it wasn’t right and bothered him, but lately, hanging on ropes and swinging (in agility drills) ... he just couldn’t do it.”
After surgery, the shoulder will be immobilized at least a month. Once Ballock starts rehabbing he could progress quickly.
“There really is no timetable,” his mom said. “I told Mitch he’s dealt with injuries, don’t get a date in your head. When you are back you’re back.”
He still has one season of AAU and high school ball remaining and then a college career after that.