Durham (N.C.) Academy shooting guard M.J. Rice will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL at the Seahawk Classic in late December, Rice confirmed to SI All-American.
Rice, a five-star sophomore, is expected to miss up to nine months and will undergo surgery on Jan. 27.
"I was pretty down at first, but I'm feeling better mentally now," Rice said. "When it happened I wasn't sure what happened, but I didn't think it was an ACL. A couple days after it just started swelling really bad and that's when we found out. It's unfortunate, but now I'm just focused on coming back stronger. I've been in a situation like this before."
Three years ago, Rice broke both of his legs while playing and came back to work his way into a top 10 player in the 2022 class with everyone from Duke to Kentucky to Texas Tech to Pittsburgh, among many others, showing interest or extending offers.
"The exciting part for me is being better than I was before," Rice said. "I'm a competitor so this is just another challenge for me. That's how I look at it. I'm gonna be stronger and better than I was before; I know that."
This season Rice was averaging 25 points, nine rebounds and two assists a game for the Cavaliers.
"I'm ready for the surgery because that's the first step," Rice said. "I know it will be a lot of work to get back, but that's the only way I know how to work. I'm not rushing anything because I want to be right. It's just time to get to work now."