UCLA freshman forward Reeves Nelson had laser retinopexy on his left eye today to repair a slight tear in his retina. The surgery was done at UCLA's world-renowned Jules Stein Eye Institute by Dr. Steven Schwartz.
He did not practice today and is not slated to practice tomorrow. He will be revaluated on Wednesday for Thursday's game against Oregon State (Feb. 25).
"The retinal tear was very far away from his central and meaningful peripheral vision and should not affect his ability to see the court," Dr. Schwartz said. "He is an extremely tough kid and tolerated the procedure extremely well without anaesthesia."
Dr. Schwartz said that he has consulted with Los Angeles Lakers' athletic trainer, Gary Vitti, who will assist with protective eyewear, the same worn by James Worthy.
The tear had a small amount of blood around it, indicating it was a recent injury.
What a tough kid. Hope Reeves feel better soon. What is interesting here is that injury Nelson suffered against Washington State was to his right eye when he had to get 15 stitches. He also took number of hits to his right eye earlier in the season as detailed by Foster in the LA Times:
Nelson, who is averaging 11 points and five rebounds per game, also took a finger in the right eye against Kansas in December, suffering a corneal abrasion. He was elbowed in the same eye during the next game against New Mexico State. Nelson was also elbowed in the eye early in the game against Washington.
I wonder when did his left eye get hurt when all the injuries have been to his right one? Are they connected? I would hope that is a question reporters ask Howland when they meet him for the weekly presser today.
The official site notes Nelson "will miss at least the first two practices this week and will be reevaluated on Wednesday." I would hope at this point Coach Ben Howland opts for the safe route and seat him down at least for the Oregon State game on Thursday. This would mean we are probably looking at the starting lineup that will have either Brendan Lane or Bobo Morgan at 5.
I would ideally prefer Howland to bench Ragovic and start both Lane and Bobo and bring Rago off the bench along with Anderson. I would also hope this situation means Howland gives Mike Moser an extended look so that he can enable either Roll or Honeycutt get a breather and stay fresh for the second half. Guess we will find out how Howland manages the rotation.
We all wish a speedy recovery to Nelson. It is kind of a bummer though that it seems like we always have injuries that open up the possibilities for extended time for our bench. Wish those guys were being used more consistently all season long, so that they would be more prepared for this kind scenario. Guess we will have to see what transpires on Thursday night.