Let's just get the bad news out of the way: Mike Gesell has a broken left hand. The rising sophomore, who is expected to continue starting at point guard for the Hawkeyes in 2013 and beyond, suffered the injury Thursday night during Prime Time League playoff action, and he'll be in a cast for several weeks.
So what does this mean for the Hawkeyes?
There are two main pieces of good news surrounding the injury: the type and the timing. This is a broken hand, and as Brendan Stiles reported, it's a non-displaced fracture, which means the healing process should be relatively uncomplicated. Moreover, bones heal, and they heal (relatively) quickly and completely—especially for 19-year-olds who take good care of themselves. This isn't like a ligament injury, which can linger as a problem area even after the athlete's cleared for play.
Also, it's his "off" hand; Gesell shoots with his right, so this probably shouldn't have any impact on his shooting stroke. He does dribble ambidextrously (as you'd hope from a point guard) though, but again: this is a broken bone, not something that has the potential to cause chronic pain after coming back to action.
And speaking of being cleared for play, even if the training staff keeps Gesell out of commission for six weeks—the high end of the recovery estimate—that still brings him back well before the start of official practices, so Gesell's sophomore season does not look to be affected in any substantial way by this injury.
That said, it's now extremely unlikely that Gesell plays during the upcoming European tour. That begins in roughly 3 1/2 weeks, and even if Gesell's hand heals quickly, Iowa coaches probably won't hurry to bring him back to gameplay for the sake of some exhibitions. One would hope Gesell still gets to make the trip with the team, because Europe is awesome and everyone should get the opportunity to visit, but in terms of running the show on the court, this is going to be Anthony Clemmons' and Roy Devyn Marble's show at the point.
That's not necessarily a negative thing. While Gesell is the best ball-handler of the three, any time and experience the other potential points can get at the top is beneficial for their development. Gesell is the closest thing Iowa has to a "known quantity" at PG, so Fran McCaffery and company must be more eager to see where Clemmons and Marble are in terms of being able to play the point. It's just exhibition Euro competition, but it's still a data point for how much flexibility they really have at the 1—and that could affect usage rates at the other four positions too, considering the depth at each position.
But just to reiterate: barring a setback so substantial it might as well be another injury, Gesell will be just fine by the start of fall practices. This broken hand should not negatively affect Iowa's W-L record in the upcoming season, and if anything it's a blessing in disguise by opening up a few weeks of opportunity for the other point guards to spend time on the court in live scrimmaging.
We'll be fine. Deep breaths.