Friday, December 09, 2005

UCLA Men's Basketball Injury Update (12/9)

By Bruin Basketball Report

The Bruin squad continues to be on the mend as it prepares to face the Nevada Wolf Pack at the John R. Wooden Classic on Saturday.

"It's really been hard," Howland said. "I've never in my 25 years seen this many injuries. Not only for my team, but for any team. It's been crazy." Injuries have most deeply impacted the center postion on the team.

Sophomore Lorenzo Mata suffered a concussion last Thursday at practice and is listed day-to-day and is not expected to play on Saturday. Mata had been averaging 3.0 ppg and 3.5 rpg in 15 minutes per contest. Prior to the injury Mata had earned the starting spot at center over the two seniors primarily due to his his post defense and rebounding.

During the same Thursday practice senior Michael Fey sprained his right ankle and is expected to miss at least 4-5 more days and will most likely miss Saturday's game as well. "It's feeling good, most of the swelling is going down," Fey said. "It's just bruised. I haven't tried running on it. As far as running and practice I'm not sure."

With both Mata and Fey out with injuries, the Bruins will be quite thin in the middle as they play against the WAC Player of the Year power forward Nick Fazekas.

In the Coppin St. game Howland started freshman Ryan Wright at center to begin the game and Alfred Aboya to start the second, however, senior Ryan Hollins played the bulk of the minutes during UCLA's key run in the second half. Expect the three to rotate minutes again at the five spot with the player performing the best gaining the most playing time.

Ryan Hollins the enigmatic 7-foot senior has the most experience and is the Bruins best shot blocker but is not a good post offensive or defensive player. He may be matched up against Fazekas during the game due to his length and speed, although Luc Richard Mbah A Moute will probably have the starting defensive assignment against Fazekas.

Ryan Wright earned to start at center in the last game because he had grabbed the most rebounds at the last practice, yet interestingly, it was Michael Fey who had grabbed top rebounding honors at Thursday's practice before injuring himself. Expect Howland to give the starting nod to the highest rebounder from practice again.

Alfred Aboya played 16 mintues against Coppin St. and may play more minutes against Nevada depending on how well his knees responded to the last game and increased practice time. In addition, Aboya is still learning the Bruin offensive and defensive schemes. "He missed a defensive rotation in the game", Howland said, it will take a few practices before Aboya is comfortable in the game.

Jordan Farmar played 35 minutes against Coppin St after coming back from an ankle injury. He "tweaked" it once during the game but he was able to play effectively earning his first double-double in a college game - 16 points and 10 assists.

Ben Howland announced that Josh Shipp may return within the next two weeks to begin practicing with the team. He hopes to have Shipp back by the Wagner game on Dec. 21, thereby giving him some game time experience before the start of Pac-10 conference play which begins on Dec. 29 agasint Stanford at Pauley Pavilion.



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