By Harvey Hoffman

Villanova star freshman Cam Whitmore, a projected top-10 NBA draft pick, will undergo surgery this week on his right thumb after injuring it in practice.

Whitmore will be reevaluated in early November.

“We’re disappointed for Cam,” Villanova first-year coach Kyle Neptune said. “Throughout the preseason he’s worked hard to learn our concepts and what it takes to be effective in the Big East. This is a temporary setback, though, and we know Cam will approach his rehab with a great attitude.”

Whitmore, a 6-7 small forward from Archbishop Spalding (Maryland), was ranked No. 21 in the ESPN 100 for the 2022 class. He earned McDonald’s All-American honors. Whitmore also excelled for the USA Basketball U18 team at the FIBA U18 Americas this past summer, averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting better than 70% from inside the arc and 45.5% from 3-point range. The USA won the gold medal.

Villanova opens its season — the first one under Neptune, who replaced Jay Wright after he retired following 21 seasons with the Wildcats — at home against La Salle on Nov. 7. It’s another injury issue for Neptune, who is also without All-Big East guard Justin Moore. Moore tore his right Achilles in last year’s NCAA tournament and is out indefinitely.

Caleb Daniels (broken nose) and Trey Patterson (sports hernia) are also currently sidelined.

Villanova was ranked No. 12 in ESPN’s final Way-Too-Early Top 25.

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