Benford: Combs has successful ankle surgery

North Texas forward Jeremy Combs (1) gets tangled up with Middle Tennessee forward JaCorey Williams earlier this season at the Super Pit. Combs underwent ankle surgery on Monday. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Tomas Gonzalez)

North Texas forward Jeremy Combs (1) gets tangled up with Middle Tennessee forward JaCorey Williams earlier this season at the Super Pit. Combs underwent ankle surgery on Monday. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Tomas Gonzalez)

North Texas forward Jeremy Combs underwent surgery on his left ankle Monday morning.

UNT coach Tony Benford said the procedure to remove a plate was successful. Doctors inserted the plate in July to help stabilize Combs’ leg after he struggled to recover from a high ankle sprain.

Combs averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 14 appearances in an on-again, off-again season.

Combs sat out nearly all of the offseason after surgery and came back for the start of the year. It was pretty obvious right from the jump that Combs wasn’t himself. He didn’t have the explosion or the athleticism that made him a preseason all-conference selection.

UNT tried to give Combs some time off to heal, sitting him for four games in November. When that didn’t work, the Mean Green’s coaches and trainers elected to shut him down for the year to allow him to recover from the injury.

Combs last played in a loss to Southern Miss on Jan. 19.

Combs originally injured his ankle during the late stages of last season. He aggravated the injury in June and then had surgery to put the plate in his ankle to stabilize it.

UNT’s doctors and trainers brought Combs back slowly. He wore a protective boot for six weeks and was limited in practice right up until UNT’s season-opener against Sul Ross State on Nov. 11.

Combs never regained his form before UNT elected to shut him down for the year.

The question now is if UNT has seen the last of Combs, who could elect to stay at UNT for his senior season or explore his options. He has not redshirted.

Combs could transfer, sit out a year and then play his senior season after having a long break to recover.

If Combs graduates early, he could also elect to go to another school as a graduate transfer.

Combs declined to comment on his plans in late January.

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