ATLANTA — Georgia Tech senior guard D’Andre Bell, expected to serve as a starter and team captain, instead will have season-ending surgery to correct a spinal condition.
Coach Paul Hewitt said Wednesday that Bell, who started 22 games last season, was diagnosed with a congenital condition known as spinal stenosis.
Bell, from Los Angeles, felt numbness in his extremities after he hit his head on a teammate’s leg while diving for a ball during a workout on Oct. 10.
Bell was examined on Tuesday by Dr. John Heller, a specialist at Emory Orthopedic and Spine Center, and was told at that time he would not be able to play this season.
The stenosis, a narrowing and compression of the spinal cord, is located in the cervical portion of Bell’s spine.
The 6-foot-6 Bell was recently touted by Hewitt as one of the team’s leaders.
“It hurts not to be able to play,” Bell said in a statement released by Georgia Tech.
“But I know God has a plan for me, and I need to do what is best for my future. My focus now will be on making sure I do what I need to do academically to finish up in the spring. I have to have the surgery whether I want to play again or not, so I probably will do that during winter break.”
Georgia Tech said no timetable has been set for Bell’s surgery.
Georgia Tech team orthopedist Dr. John Xerogeanes said the surgery is “necessary for his quality of life, whether he plays basketball again or not.”
Bell, a management major on track to graduate in May, averaged 6.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game last season.
“We’re very disappointed for D’Andre,” Hewitt said. “At the same time, however, he was fortunate to have caught this before something catastrophic happened on the court.”