Rutgers has lost one of its most versatile players for the entire season.

Junior guard Caleb McConnell will take a medical redshirt and sit out the 2020-21 campaign with a back issue, he announced Friday.

“During my time here I’ve battled through multiple injuries. Unfortunately, I am still not fully healthy,” McConnell said in a statement posted to his Instagram account. “After talking it over with coach (Steve) Pikiell and my family, I have decided to redshirt this upcoming season to focus on getting 100% healthy. Though I am disappointed I won’t be able to go to war on the court with my brothers this year, I am excited to help lead us from the sideline and off the court. I know we will be ready to take the next step in the Big Ten conference this year.

“I’m looking forward to using this season to not only get healthy, but also to improve as a player, person and leader. I will be attacking my rehab each and every day to make sure I am the best possible player I can be when I return for the 2021-2022 season.”

McConnell started 21 games last season for the Scarlet Knights, averaging 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game with a 41.1% shooting rate. McConnell is one of Rutgers’ best defensive players and was its best free throw shooter last season.

McConnell likely would have been one of the first players off the bench for the Scarlet Knights this season. Rutgers does have the depth to weather his absence, though, with Geo Baker, Montez Mathis, Paul Mulcahy and Jacob Young all returning in the backcourt.

Rutgers is expected to begin its season at Thanksgiving, but the Big Ten has yet to finalize its schedule.

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