Udoka Azubuike underwent surgery on his injured right ankle and will miss the remainder of the regular season, the Utah Jazz announced Friday.
The second-year center suffered a right ankle sprain earlier this month while on assignment with the G League affiliate Salt Lake City Stars.
This is the third injury to his right ankle that Azubuike has suffered in the past 13 months.
The Jazz noted that Azubuike underwent a procedure to repair multiple ligaments in his ankle and foot, and to stabilize the subtalar joint. The procedure was performed in Indianapolis by foot and ankle specialist David Porter, in consultation with Jazz team physician Travis Maak.
Overall this season, the second-year center from Kansas appeared in 15 games with the Jazz and averaged 4.7 points (on 75.5% shooting) and 4.2 rebounds per game.
He was first injured on Feb. 10, 2021 while playing for the Stars in their season opener against the Erie Bayhawks in the G League in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He went up for a jump-hook, made contact in-air with an Erie player, went off-balance, then landed on a player’s foot, causing his right ankle to roll and his lower leg to bend violently outward.
Despite how gruesome the injury looked in the moment — he had to be carted off the court — it was subsequently determined to be only a severe sprain, though the injury did keep him out for an extended period.
The 27th pick of the 2020 draft was injured again on Nov. 26, 2021, while once again on assignment with the Stars. This time, against the Stockton Kings, he went up to challenge a shot with 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter and landed awkwardly, causing his right leg to buckle.
He was later diagnosed with a subluxation of the right ankle — in effect, a dislocation in which the bone temporarily pops out of joint.
The injury kept him out until Jan. 5 of this year, when he made a shock start in Denver, with both Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside ruled out. He played 15:36 in his return to action, while having to fend off reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.
He showed additional flashes of improvement in subsequent appearances — eight points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks in a Feb. 2 win over Denver; 10 points and 11 rebounds in a victory against Brooklyn; seven points, 14 boards, and three blocks in beating the Knicks.
In a six-game stretch between Feb. 2-14, he averaged 9.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.