Jan. 21, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama guard Ronald Steele has decided to skip the rest of his senior season after sustaining a foot injury, ending his once-promising college career.

Steele had returned after missing last season while recovering from operations on both knees to repair cartilage defects, including a follow-up procedure on his left knee.

He had been sidelined the past two games this season with a heel injury, both Crimson Tide losses, leading up to Wednesday night's game against Mississippi.

"This is a very difficult time for Ron," coach Mark Gottfried said Tuesday night. "I'll always be indebted to his contributions to our program and the University of Alabama and wish him the very best in his future endeavors."

Steele was averaging 12.9 points and 3.7 assists and hitting a team-best 38 percent of his 3-point shots. He seemed to be returning to the form that made him a preseason All-American two years ago when he had 23 points and 10 assists in a win over Georgia Tech.

Steele, who was the first two-time Alabama prep Mr. Basketball, received a degree in financial planning in December 2007.

Steele averaged 15.9 points in Southeastern Conference games as a sophomore and led the league in free throw percentage and minutes played, earning first-team All-SEC honors. He was limited for much of his junior season with knee problems, but still joined Robert Scott as the only players in school history with 1,000 points and 400 assists.