BYU could be without its All-American middle attacker for a significant portion of the upcoming season.
The BYU athletics department informed Off the Block Tuesday that Futi Tavana had surgery this summer to repair an undisclosed injury and is out indefinitely.
Tavana, a senior, was a First-Team All-American last season after finishing the regular season first in the MPSF and second in the nation with a 1.50 blocks per game average. He also won the inaugural Off the Block Blocker of the Year award, which is given to the nation’s best front-row defensive player.
BYU because of its privacy laws could not release what Tavana injured. However, it did say the men’s volleyball coaching staff is optimistic that Tavana will be able to recover and to return to the court before the end of the 2012 season.
BYU finished the 2011 regular season No. 2 in the national rankings but was upset in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals and missed the Final Four for the seventh straight year.
Tavana was one of three All-Americans returning to the Cougars for the upcoming season. Second-Team All-American outside attacker Robb Stowell returns for his senior season, while outside attacker Taylor Sander enters his sophomore year after being named the 2011 National Newcomer of the Year.
Without Tavana, BYU will have two new starting middle attackers this season.
Otavio Souza, the Cougars’ other starting middle attacker from last season, graduated earlier this year.
Besides Tavana and Souza, Quentin Smith played the most time at middle attacker last season. Smith as a junior played in 18 games and had a 0.94 blocks per game average during the 2011 season.