CAA standouts recovering from surgery

The CAA is a conference to watch this season, with VCU coming off a Final Four appearance and George Mason primed to make another NCAA tournament run.

But a new crop of players will have to step up, as the entire All-CAA first team completed its eligibility, and two all-conference players -- Old Dominion's Kent Bazemore and Drexel's Chris Fouch -- are recovering from offseason surgeries.

Bazemore, the CAA's reigning defensive player of the year and top returning scorer for the Monarchs, had been hoping to return by the start of the season after fracturing his left foot.

But CBSSports.com reports that Bazemore will now likely miss the first month of the season after ODU coach Blaine Taylor told the website that the senior is a "long ways off from working out."

It's unsettling news for ODU because the versatile 6-foot-5 Bazemore has NBA potential and averaged 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds while leading the league in steals last season.

Meanwhile, Drexel announced last week that leading scorer Chris Fouch would miss the start of the season while recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Fouch, a junior who had redshirted his freshman season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, has become one of the top shooters in the CAA and averaged 14.9 points for the Dragons last season despite making only two starts.

A third CAA all-conference player -- Luke Hancock -- transferred this offseason from George Mason, which has also suspended starting guard Andre Cornelius following an offseason arrest.

So a number of the league's contenders will have to make adjustments at the start of the season. Missing players at the start of the season won't necessarily damage their postseason chances, but it does remain a concern.