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Anthony Bennett needs shoulder surgery; draft stock not expected to slide

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Stephen Sylvanie / Special to the Las Vegas Sun

UNLV’s Anthony Bennett announces Monday, April 1, 2013, that he is leaving for the NBA Draft.

UNLV Runnin' Rebel Anthony Bennett

UNLV forward Anthony Bennett dunks during the team's First Look scrimmage Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack. Launch slideshow »

Anthony Bennett will miss the NBA Summer League because of shoulder surgery but the injury is not expected to affect his status as a top 10 draft pick.

Bennett’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, confirmed a report to ESPN’s Chad Ford that Bennett will get surgery Wednesday for a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He’ll be out four months, forcing him to miss predraft workouts and the NBA Summer League. Bennett likely would have played those Summer League games on UNLV’s campus, though some teams also compete in Orlando, Fla.

Bennett complained of pain in his left shoulder in February but neither he nor the team seemed to think it was a major problem. Team doctor Dave Tomchek treated it as brachial neuritis, a nerve issue, and Bennett didn’t miss much time. He sat out most of the victory at Wyoming but never missed a start.

It’s unclear if the two injuries are directly related.

While the setback would seem to hurt Bennett’s draft stock, that doesn’t seem to be the case in the eyes of NBA general managers. Ford spoke to multiple GMs who said they wouldn’t drop him down because of this.

“You always would prefer a guy is healthy, works out for you and can play in summer league," one GM told Ford. "However, I don't think in this case that it will really matter. We got a good feel for his game. He's one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft. I wouldn't blink taking him in the top five as long as the surgery is successful.”

ESPN.com has Bennett as the No. 4 prospect in this year’s draft. Two others in the top 10 — No. 1 Nerlens Noel and No. 7 Alex Len — are also projected high despite recent surgeries. Noel tore his ACL against Florida and Len had ankle surgery after the season. All three are big men.

Bennett returned to Canada shortly after making his tearful goodbye to UNLV and recently has been in New York preparing for the draft. He’s expected to stay there for the surgery.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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