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The Long Term

Coach Howland gives his reasons on why he is holding out superstar pg for few more games:

After being optimistic last Tuesday that Collison would be available when second-ranked UCLA plays Maryland on Monday in the semifinals of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., Howland revised his opinion after watching Collison work out Wednesday.

The junior preseason All-American did some running and cutting drills and caused Howland to say, "We're going to be very, very conservative. Yesterday for example, he did three one-minute exercises, we told him to go this way or that way, sliding his feet, running back and forth.

"I came out of Pauley thinking it's not the right thing to encourage him to come back Monday and Tuesday and come into a game with the adrenaline flowing. That's the worst thing he can do, come back too soon."
More from Jill Painter in the Daily News:
``My biggest concern is that I don't want anything to happen to him longterm. It's unfortunate because I was optimistic he'd be ready to go. It's just probably not prudent to try to push him.''

UCLA must wait at least another 10 days before Collison would be cleared to play in a game. Collison injured the knee Nov. 2 against Azusa Pacific in an exhibition game. Doctors originally figured he'd miss two weeks tops. Although there's never been any swelling in his knee, there's still some pain.

``(There's) not much (pain), but it comes and goes,'' Collison said. ``It's a real slight pain. Last week the pain was heavy. I could barely move my leg. It's getting better every day.''

When Collison worked out on Wednesday, he wore the brace for the first time.

``It feels weird, but Baron Davis wears one, so I know it can be done,'' Collison said.
As we discussed in the comment thread in A’s diary. yesterday, this is a now brainer decision on Coach Howland’s part. It is the absolute right thing to do. Although we are going to take on some very good teams next Monday and Tuesday, I think we will have a good shot at winning those games without DC. There is no point in rushing him back in at this point of the season.

This also means now Russell (who improved his stats in our last two games (15 assists and 4 TOs) compared to his first one (6 TOs)) will accumulate some invaluable experience against some quality opponents, which will come in very handy later this season. It will also give Coach Howland a chance to see if he can get some meaningful contributions/mins out of a kid like Dragovic. Again all of this will only make the team stronger, when we get everyone back. I guess like A and everyone else I am anxious to see the team totally healthy. But as Coach Howland mentioned above we have to be conservative and think about the long term.

Also thinking about the long term and being patient Diane had this note in her today’s report:
Freshman center Kevin Love, who has been eager to play with the guy he calls the best point guard in America, said he could be patient. "Darren's going to come back when he's ready and that's all we can expect from him," Love said.

Love had only 10 shots against Cal State San Bernardino on Tuesday and Howland said the center needed to touch the ball more.

Love said Thursday, "There are some times when I feel I'm open and I can get the ball. The more we play together, the more chemistry we have, the more the guys trust me, the more they start feeding me and they'll realize I'm going to pass the ball when they double, triple-team me in the post."

Junior Josh Shipp said it might be that Love will not get as many shots as expected this season. "We've definitely got to get the ball inside," Shipp said, "but he's going to draw a lot of attention so Kevin might not get as many shots as he wants. But he's a great passer so that will be the difference."
I think it is a matter of time these kids will gel as a team. Watching the game on Wednesday night, at times I did think there could have been more entry passes to Love. But then I realized Love was only in his 3rd game with a new pg. Another thing to keep in mind that the team is missing Roll, who is the best passer in terms of feeding the post in our team (Roll might be back by November 28 now). So those touches will come.

And I am sure Coach Howland will make sure the team grows through these games and develop that chemistry as we slog through the pre season. This is why we have these games to work out this kind of little kinks before heading into the Pac-10 games. I am not all that worried. I am sure it will work out in the long term.

We just have to be a little patient.