Illinois guard Tracy Abrams drives the ball against Michigan in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarter finals of the Big Ten Conference tournament Friday, March 14, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Kiichiro Sato
July 28, 2015

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois senior point guard Tracy Abrams will miss a second straight season because of an injury, a damaging blow to the team's hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach John Groce said Abrams tore his left Achilles during practice Monday and surgery is scheduled for Aug. 5. Abrams missed last season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

''First of all, my heart goes out to Tracy,'' Groce said, adding Abrams is going through a difficult time now. ''He went through so much the last 10 months fighting back from a torn ACL to return to the court this summer in preparation for the upcoming season.''

Groce said Abrams will handle the latest setback with courage and resolve, and is expected make a full recovery.

The injury leaves Illinois with junior Jaylon Tate starting at point guard. Tate shared the spot last season in Abrams' absence, averaging three assists and 3.6 points per game as the Illini went 19-14 and ended the season with a 21-point loss to Alabama in the NIT.

Incoming freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands could also play point guard, but is out with a stress fracture in his left leg. Groce has said the injury will be re-evaluated this fall.

Abrams has been a starter for parts of three seasons at Illinois, known as much for his defense and determination as his work running the offense. But he averaged a solid 10.7 points a game in 2013-14, the last season he played. He also averaged a team-high 3.2 assists.

When Abrams went down last season, Tate shared point guard duties with then-seniors Ahmad Starks and Rayvonte Rice. But none of the three was considered a true point guard.

The position has become a sore spot for the Illini, with Groce struggling to land true point guards since he came to Champaign in 2012.

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