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UCLA Basketball Roundup - Zeke's Health, Plugging And Lane's Vision

Some good news to start out the morning. Despite injuring a tendon in a finger during last Friday's game against Washington, Lazeric Jones was able to practice yesterday, and as reported by Jon Gold, will be able to play Sunday at USC.

UCLA head coach Ben Howland said Lazeric Jones shot the ball well during practice on Tuesday and that he'd be back for USC despite a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger.

The LA TImes added that Jones was to undergo an X-ray on the injured finger yesterday, but that Coach Howland did not foresee any additional injury to the finger being discovered, and believed that his successful practice that morning had given Zeke the confidence to play aggressively on Sunday night.

During Yesterday's presser, Howland also noted Joshua Smith's struggles in hedging away from the basket. DCBruins noted the problem last Sunday, and that in the wake of Smith fouling out of the prior game largely due to picking up fouls while hedging near the 3-point line, Howland did acknowledge that a change in strategy was in order. On Tuesday, Howland said that he would use Smith more as a 'plug' - keeping him between the ball handler and the basket - in hopes of reducing his fouls.

"In retrospect, he probably should have been plugging all the way from the beginning and getting better and better at it," Howland said. "He can't get out there and hedge right now like we want him to, so he's not going to be doing that as much."

In other news, Brendan Lane was recently fitted for contact lenses, and will begin wearing them during games beginning on Sunday. As Lane told to the LA Times Ben Bolch:

"Hopefully, it will help my game," Lane said. "If you can see better, it's obviously going to help me."

Interestingly, Lane has worn glasses off the court for quite some time, but that fact did not come to the attention of the UCLA staff until recently:

... He said Howland observed him wearing them during a flight and asked about his vision, leading to the decision to play with contacts

In an interview with Gold, Lane acknowledged that he does need to be more aggressive, and be more confident on the offensive end. Lets hope that the improved vision while on the court leads to him feeling better about getting the ball to the basket.

Just a reminder, the Bruins' next game is Sunday night @ USC's Sam's Club Center, 7:30pm Pacific tipoff.