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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga freshman forward Anton Watson will have shoulder surgery, out for the season

Gonzaga forward Anton Watson  walks on the court after a  home game against Pepperdine  on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (Young Kwak / AP)

Gonzaga forward Anton Watson’s freshman season is over.

Watson, whose left shoulder has popped out of place in four games, including last Saturday’s road win over Loyola Marymount, will undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season. A firm date hasn’t been set for the operation, but it will likely be next week.

“Anton is one of the toughest guys I’ve coached,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “He’s battled through a lot because he cares about this team. This is the right thing to do moving forward for his career, and he has a bright future with our program.”

The athletic, 6-foot-8 Watson averaged 4.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 15 games. The Gonzaga Prep product started the first four games with senior forward Killian Tillie recovering from October knee surgery.

Watson doesn’t appear to be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt year. An athlete must be injured in the first half of the season and play in no more than 30% of the team’s regular-season games.

Watson’s absence is a big one for the Zags, who had been using a four-man frontcourt rotation with Watson and fellow freshman Drew Timme coming off the bench behind Tillie and Filip Petrusev.

The rotation shrinks to three, but Gonzaga could use wing Corey Kispert at the ‘4.’ Freshmen wing Martynas Arlauskas and post Pavel Zakharov also could see additional minutes, but they’ve been used mostly late in lopsided games thus far.

Watson’s versatility and high basketball IQ have been an ideal fit for the Zags. He played and guarded multiple positions and he’s a quality passer and rebounder.