Let's start the Humpday with a followup on Reeves Nelson. Yesterday we wondered when did his left eye get hurt when all the injuries have been to his right one. It sounds like the doctor detected the issue with his left eye while doing a through check up and Coach Howland is speculating that the tear took place Nelson's face slammed against the floor. The OC Register reports:
"Reeves had no idea there was anything in his left eye," UCLA coach Ben Howland said Tuesday. "There were no symptoms. When he went to get his follow-up, it had been set up for his right eye because of the Kansas game. Just through the normal, thorough investigation, they looked at both eyes. Dr. Schwartz happened to be very thorough and looked in his other eye."
Nelson first injured his right eye when he was poked by an opponent during a Dec. 6 game against Kansas. The injury suffered last week was also to his right eye.
Howland thinks the impact of Nelson's head hitting the court last week might have caused the injury to the other eye.
"It's really unfortunate," Howland said. "I thought for sure they'd be saying there was something wrong with his right eye. That's the one that was poked into and hit."
Thankfully the UCLA doctors were through in their check up (doctors from one of the best medical facilities in the country tend to be that way). I hope Reeves take all the time necessary to get fully healthy and recover, even though we could really use him on the court. Howland mentioned during the press conference that he is not practicing (duh) so he is not going to be available for Thursday's game.
As for replacing Nelson, it is looking very dicey. Here was Howland's plan according to the OC Register:
Dragovic and Honeycutt have 33 starts and more than 1,200 minutes between them this season, but Lane and Morgan are lagging far behind in both categories.
Lane started one game and is averaging 8.2 minutes in 22 appearances. Morgan has played in 16 games
Well, I am assuming Howland made that comment before Lane's injury yesterday. Lane is now in a walking boot and is not going to practice today per the LA Times. I doubt he is going to be available for Thursday night's game. So that means same old 35+ mins of Dragovic and huge mins for Bobo.Howland talked about using Honeycutt in the frontcourt. I would hope AGAIN that he would consider giving Mike Moser some decent minutes in the game to keep Honeycutt fresh in second half. As for Bobo, the kid is excited about his opportunity:
"It puts a lot of pressure on me and Brendan - we haven't had a lot of experience with playing time and being in tough situations," Morgan said. "But I think we know how to play basketball enough to get the job done. I wish that there were some more minutes that I could've helped my team, and I feel I could've helped the team in some of the situations we didn't succeed in. But I look at this as an opportunity for me that I can show the coaches and fans and everybody else that I can help this team."
Even though there is not a lot of drama in terms of where our team is going to end up this season, I think it is going to be more than worth tuning in to see how Morgan handles the expected big minutes on Thursday night.
Oregon State is not going to be an easy opponent. For anyone thinking about discounting Craig Robinson's team, keep in mind they have the exact same record as the Bruins (12-14) and one less conference wins (6-8). Their demolition of Cal Bears was not their only decent win of this season. That win followed a win against Arizona Wildcats in Tucson. They have also beaten the Trogans at home and the Ducks on the road. Bruins are 1-5 against those teams so far this season.
There is nothing new to say in terms of what the Bruins need to do to win. I don't think we need to discuss in all detail at this point on how the Bruins need to hold on to the ball, run a patient offense by setting each other up for good shots, and play hard for 40 minutes on the defensive end. I have no idea whether we can expect that from our team. They have not really shown mental toughness and resolve on a consistent basis this entire season.
Lastly, James Keefe was is expected to undergo surgery on his left shoulder on Tuesday. I have not heard anything new about him. If he did have the procedure yesterday, keeping my fingers crossed that it all went well. Hope he gets to come out for Senior Day. Looking forward to Pauley sending off Michael Roll and Keefe with a standing ovation in their last home game of the season.