Monday, December 31, 2007

Mata-Real Returns To Practice, Collison Brace-less

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Update:  Junior Michael Roll re-injured the plantar fascia in his left foot today in practice. An MRI has been scheduled for Wednesday.

With two upcoming road games to open the Pac-10 this week, the Bruins will be close to full strength.

Senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real returned for full-contact practice this afternoon.  He had strained a groin muscle at practice last week on December 26 and was forced to miss the UC Davis contest.

With games against formidable front lines at Stanford (Brook and Robin Lopez) and California (DeVon Hardin and Ryan Anderson), the return of  6'9 Mata-Real's is welcome news for the team.

Despite coming off the bench this season behind freshman Kevin Love, Mata-Real has been playing the best basketball of his collegiate career this year.  He's averaging 4.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a game in 19.1 minutes, however, its his defensive presence, experience, and toughness inside where he contributes the most to the team.   Mata-Real is averaging 1.3 blocks per contest.

Point guard Darren Collison practiced today for the first time without the protective knee brace on his left knee.  He sprained his MCL during the first exhibition game on November 2.  Although not quite back to 100%, Collison has commented the knee brace has been inhibiting his motion.

Collison is averaging 12.7 points and 3.9 assists in just seven games this season.

Walk-on guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid also was cleared to practice today although he was scheduled to only go for half the practice.  He suffered a stress reaction in his right foot on December 6 and has missed every practice and the last five games since the injury.

BBR Notes:  UCLA remained ranked No.5 in both AP and Coaches polls released today.  North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas, and Washington State occupy the top four spots in both polls.

(photo by Bruin Basketball Report)



At Dec 31, 2007, 11:42:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Bruins - u better be ready from the start...own these fools from the tip-off...
Happy New Year to all!!

At Dec 31, 2007, 1:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man.... we NEED Roll's outside shooting.....

At Dec 31, 2007, 5:19:00 PM, Anonymous I_am_Bruin said...

more injuries?!?!?! damn!
Roll can drain that 3, BUT he has been quite the liability in just about every other facet of the game.

At Dec 31, 2007, 6:24:00 PM, Anonymous brewlin said...

BBR, I know it may be premature to ask but does this mean that Keefe may come off red-shirt status?

At Jan 1, 2008, 1:45:00 AM, Anonymous Crow said...

No, Dragovic will get more time

At Jan 1, 2008, 1:56:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Howland has a pressor scheduled this afternoon and we'll find out then. Also, understand Howland is meeting with the Keefe family today as well.
In the case of Keefe, we think it was questionable if he should have been redshirted in the first place. UCLA only had 11 scholarship players on the roster to begin the season, and its a long season, injuries happen, and UCLA is in the running for a championship most every year as an elite program.
Actually, Mata's groin injury highlighted the need to have someone like Keefe on the roster. He may be 3rd string at PF/C when the Bruins are at full strength but you need a guy in that spot who can step in when someone goes down.
Howland mentioned at the time of Keefe's redshirt announcement that if any of his top 8 guys went down then he would consider having Keefe return. But we'll see what happens. Stay tuned.

At Jan 1, 2008, 11:08:00 AM, Anonymous j said...

Is Keefe ready to play? Has he been practicing with the team?

At Jan 1, 2008, 12:42:00 PM, Anonymous Brad said...

Keefe is ready defensively. He is ahead of Dragovic in that area. Drago appears to be indifferent to defense. Stanback is probably going to get more minutes. Keefe shouldn't redshirt. How would that benefit him or the team? Logjammed at the forward position for the next 3 years. Look for Drago to possibly transfer.

At Jan 1, 2008, 1:39:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

As a redshirt you're able/allowed to practice with the team. Keefe has been working out with the team since his return from injury.
I'll have it posted in the article, but Howland said today at the media teleconference that he wants to learn the MRI results on Michael Roll's foot injury before he makes any announcement on what he plans to do. Roll is getting an MRI tomorrow.
However, Howland was to meet with Keefe and his family this afternoon to discuss the possibilities. We should learn soon.


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