Kyrie Irving Might Miss Entire Season

Posted by jstevrtc on December 9th, 2010

Late on Wednesday, Andy Katz reported that Duke’s Kyrie Irving could miss the entire season as a result of a right toe injury he sustained in the Blue Devils’ win against Butler this past Saturday.

Would the Loss Of Irving Change Duke's Status As Unanimous Favorite?

Soon after that game, the injury was diagnosed as a sprain to the right first (or big) toe and it was later reported that Irving might miss as much as a month, but after Wednesday’s home victory over Bradley, Katz quoted Mike Krzyzewski as saying, “Kyrie’s injury is a serious one,” and added later that “he could be out a long time.” When it came to the possibility of Irving missing the entire season, Krzyzewski confirmed, “He could be.” Katz’s report also notes that while there is no fracture of any bone in Irving’s foot, the toe injury “involves ligaments.”

Obviously it would be a tremendous shame for any player to miss his entire freshman season to such an injury after playing only eight games, especially when the kid happens to be the leading freshman of the year candidate. But should Irving miss the entire season or even significant time — pardon us for thinking ahead for just a few moments, here — there is a good chance that he could share a backcourt next season with incoming star recruit Austin Rivers.

Let’s not even think about that at this early stage, though. To bring up that possibility seems to imply that one is rooting for Irving to miss such time, and that’s definitely not the case here. According to Katz’s report, Irving will be examined and treated by top-flight foot injury specialists and a final diagnosis and prognosis will be formulated within a week or so. There’s no mention of what ligament (recall, ligaments connect bones to each other) has been injured, but as you await reports on this in the coming days —  we advise you to check back here often, or our Twitter feed — listen for “grades” of sprains as a clue to how severe the injury is. Grade I sprains mean there are just extremely tiny tears (“microtears”) to the damaged ligament; Grade II sprains indicate a partial tear of a ligament and/or mild joint instability. Grade III sprains are obviously the worse and signify a near-complete or complete tearing of the ligament resulting in severe instability of the associated joint. As you can probably guess, the higher the grade, the more drastic the treatment and the longer the convalescence.

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Stanford’s Jeremy Green Collapses After Victory Over DePaul

Posted by jstevrtc on November 28th, 2010

From RTC Correspondent Andrew Murawa:

Stanford guard Jeremy Green collapsed Sunday on his way from the court to the locker room following his team’s 81-74 overtime victory over DePaul at the 76 Classic in Anaheim.

Green appeared to having trouble catching his breath and lost his balance before being supported by teammates and eventually lay on the ground, where he was in obvious distress. He was attended to by Stanford medical personnel in the tunnel between the court and the locker room while the paramedics were called. Green was eventually transported to the hospital via ambulance, Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins confirms. There is no further immediate update from Stanford representatives.

Green played 39 minutes in the Cardinal game on Sunday, scoring a game high 19 points in helping the Cardinal avoid an 0-3 weekend in Anaheim. We’ll have more details on Green’s condition as events warrant.

UPDATE (6:32 PM ET): Source at Stanford says Green is in stable condition at the hospital and is expected to travel home with the team tonight. While leaving the court following the game, Green had complained of stomach pain and dizziness apparently related to exhaustion.



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Hummel Out For The Season With Torn ACL

Posted by jstevrtc on October 16th, 2010

Earlier today, Fox Sports’ Jeff Goodman broke the news that Purdue’s Robbie Hummel will be out for the 2010-11 season with a torn right ACL. Goodman’s article says that Purdue’s assistant SID Cory Walton confirmed to him that Hummel suffered the injury on Saturday morning during practice. In fact, a Tweet from Goodman earlier in the day stated that it happened on just the second drill of the practice.

This Is Hummel's Second Right ACL Tear Within Eight Months.

Hummel averaged 15.7 PPG and 6.9 RPG last season for a Purdue team that seemed to be peaking at the right time and destined for a deep tournament run before he went down with a tear of the same ACL in the team’s 27th game, a February 24th contest at Minnesota. Even though the Boilermakers still have senior guard E’Twaun Moore (last year’s team scoring leader with 16.4 PPG)  and big man JaJuan Johnson (15.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG) still available and ready to roll, Hummel was considered the emotional leader and his loss is devastating to the squad.

This is even more tragic considering that, just last night, during ESPN-U’s Midnight Madness coverage, Hummel was interviewed by the network’s college hoops guru Andy Katz about how Hummel’s knee was faring. Hummel cited the usual caution associated with the recovery from such an injury, but seemed optimistic, and happy that he’d been cleared to play. Then, mere hours later at the Saturday morning practice, Hummel re-injured the knee.

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Miss Chriqui, Stanford’s Andy Brown Deserves You

Posted by jstevrtc on August 23rd, 2010

If we read tomorrow that Stanford forward Andy Brown bought a winning lottery ticket, we wouldn’t be surprised.  Or maybe some other good fortune awaits him. Perhaps he’ll be discovered by Martin Scorcese during a drama class. Maybe he’ll bump into someone like Amy Adams or the girl who plays Sloan from Entourage at a Palo Alto coffee shop and they’ll find him irresistible.

You see, at some point soon, Andy Brown’s luck has to change. When it does, we hope we’re standing right next to him.

We read over the weekend that Brown will miss the 2010-11 basketball season because of a torn ACL in his left knee. Before you refresh the page, we’ll tell you that this is not a recycled story from last year. He tore that same ligament in that same knee on the first day of practice last season, forcing him to take a medical redshirt for 2009-10.  What’s more, he suffered the same injury back in January 2009 as a high school senior. That’s three left ACL tears in 20 months.

Someday, Andy...someday.

Setting aside for a moment the obvious physical toll this takes on a person, consider the mental aspect, and the pattern of these injuries. Brown injured his left knee as a senior in high school, ending his prep career early — not exactly something easy for an 18-year old kid to deal with. Then, after surgery, rehab, and getting himself over the mental hurdles inherent in resuming any physical activity — let alone that of a major Division I college basketball player — the moment he’s waited for arrives, the first day of practice as a member of the Cardinal. Boom, he re-tears the ACL, the whole season lost.  Another surgery. More rehab. Most people at that point would be afraid to move their entire leg at all, but Brown somehow found the guts to get back out on the court on a twice-repaired knee. And how is Brown rewarded for his courage? A third tear in the same knee during a pick-up game a few days ago.  Again, season lost. More surgery. More rehab.

Brown has to be wondering if his left anterior cruciate ligament was, in fact, the inspiration for the Elijah Price character in M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable. If Brown recovers and eventually makes it out onto the floor for the Cardinal in 2011-2012, given what he’s had to endure, it would be nothing short of heroic. We hope it happens, Andy. We’re all rooting for you. In the meantime, we’d suggest playing the California Lottery and hanging out in coffee shops.

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The Loss of Kevin Coble Doesn’t Kill Northwestern’s NCAA Hopes

Posted by rtmsf on July 28th, 2010

John Templon of Chicago College Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Horizon League.  He is also very familiar with the Chicago area basketball scene.

By now you’ve heard that Kevin Coble will not play for the Northwestern Wildcats during the 2010-11 season, or ever again. The recovery from his broken foot is taking longer than expected, and instead of continuing through grueling rehab with the chance of injuring it again during the season which would come with possible life-altering implications, Coble has decided to hang up his basketball shoes. Of course, this story is getting a lot of national attention because of Northwestern’s NCAA Tournament drought and the fact that “everyone” thought that Coble returning was the magic elixir that was going to solve all of the Wildcats’ problems.

Coble Will Be Missed, But He's Not the Tipping Point

I’m here to tell you that “they” were wrong. Coble’s return wasn’t going to fix the thing that Northwestern has to work on more than anything to make the NCAA Tournament — defense. The Wildcats had one of the most efficient offenses in the country last season. They scored 1.12 points per possession, which ranked 33d in the country according to Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency statistics. Being the 33d best offense in the country is more than enough to make the NCAA Tournament. The problem was Northwestern’s 169th ranked defense.  If Coble had been able to return at full strength this coming season he still wouldn’t have provided the defensive presence that the Wildcats need. A foot injury is exactly the type of problem that hinders your lateral movement, and it is the key to staying in front of people cutting with the basketball. Even when the doctors say you’re fully recovered, these types of injuries aren’t over. So even if Coble had completed his rehab he’d probably be wondering, “What happens if I try this?” on the basketball court. If you’re taking time to wonder, you’re taking too long.

When Coble was healthy he led the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding, and while his rebounding would be nice to have next season, his scoring wouldn’t have been necessary. Coble was essentially the same player his first three seasons at Northwestern with an offensive rating around 110 in approximately a quarter of the team’s possessions while he was on the court. He also had a rebounding rate of 2.7% on the offensive boards and 15.5% on the defensive boards.  But you know whose numbers were better than that last season? John Shurna. Shurna replaced Coble in the lineup last year and became an even better offensive threat. He’s still improving too. His national team experiences appear to have helped him elevate his game. It’s also worth noting that Drew Crawford as a freshman put up an offensive rating of 107.5 and Michael Thompson put up a ridiculous 115.9 last season. With JerShon Cobb coming in and Alex Marcotullio improving, the Wildcats are surely going to be just as good, if not better, on offense next season.

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Bob Huggins Trips and Breaks Four Ribs

Posted by rtmsf on July 24th, 2010

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins tripped over a coffee table and broke four ribs last night in his hotel room in Las Vegas.  As Gary Parrish first reported on Friday night, Huggins was taken to the hospital and treated with the expectation that he will be released today.  [Update: reports are that he will spend Saturday night in the hospital for further observation.]  The 56-year old coach had a heart attack some eight years ago, but the reports coming out on this story are that this accident had nothing to do with his ticker.

Who Was Huggs' Da'Sean Last Night?

Nevertheless, this incident is the second known situation in a span of just over two years where Huggins has lost his balance and fallen hard enough to be taken to the hospital.  In May 2008, the curmudgeonly coach tripped in the Charlotte airport, hitting his head on the pavement and causing a brief scare although he was ultimately fine.  We hesitate to fall back on the easy “What Happens in Vegas” joke, but considering how far Huggins has come since his DUI arrest in 2004, a little public scrutiny won’t hurt him.  For the sake of his personal and financial health (there is a substance abuse clause in his WVU contract), we hope that these incidents are the result of general clumsiness and nothing more sinister.    After all, given his redemption, we’re actually starting to like the guy.

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‘Eers A Question: Mazzulla Or Bryant?

Posted by jstevrtc on March 30th, 2010

And now…quiz time!

Here’s your vignette.  You have 35 seconds to take a shot:

A week ago, the news went out that West Virginia point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant had fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot and that he’d be out for the season. There was even talk that he’d need surgery to fix the break instead of the usual regimen of ice, rest, and a bulky, annoying stabilizer boot.

Then, the Mountaineers beat Kentucky. Bryant is now medically cleared to play in the Final Four.

Using your knowledge in each of the fields of cybernetics, Bob Huggins‘ black warm-up suit collection, and the “High Risk Zone” of the fifth metatarsal bone, how do you account for the change in Darryl Bryant’s status for the games this weekend?  Please select one answer only:

  • a) Darryl Bryant’s right pinkie toe is an orthopedic and osteologic wonder.  It heals even FASTER than that stoic but awesome liquid robot from Terminator 2, and the words “Bryant Metatarsal” will now be added to our language as something representing a person’s/object’s strong point —  the diametric opposite of “Achilles’ Heel.”  As in: “That’s right, Greg Gumbel, Kentucky’s Achilles’ heels are their 3-point shooting and their perimeter defense, but the ability of Wall, Cousins, and Patterson to get close looks in the lane is their Bryant Metatarsal,” *
  • b) the injury wasn’t as bad as originally thought, and the Truck should never have been parked,
  • c) the “rest of the season” part was added because whoever sent out the press release assumed WVU would lose to UK, thereby rendering their prognosis about Bryant correct…or,
  • d) Bryant’s going to try to tough it out…because it’s the Four.

Time’s up.  If you selected a), then, like us, you’re probably hoping that this really is the case. If you chose b) or c), you’re just cynical and wrong and may show yourself out.  If you chose d), we think you’re right.

Bryant (historically) scores more, but is Mazzulla the better option? (David Smith/AP)

Bryant’s change in status should surprise nobody.  It’s easy to wonder how a guy can go from possibly needing surgery one day to being medically cleared to play the next, but there are three reasons why you could see Bryant on the floor this weekend.  First, in athletes, fixing this type of fracture with surgery instead of the ice/rest/boot combo is gaining popularity as the ideal treatment.  Second, Bryant was fitted for a special orthotic shoe-and-insert on Monday — in Durham, North Carolina, of all places — which could help to allow him to play.  Assuming the insert does not, at some point in the first half, emit a strange royal blue-colored sleeping gas to which all Blue Devils are immune (we’re kidding, Durham-area foot doctors), the device is designed to take some weight off the broken bone and reduce Bryant’s level of pain.

Third…it’s the Final Four.

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West Virginia Loses Darryl Bryant To Broken Foot

Posted by jstevrtc on March 24th, 2010

West Virginia will be without starting sophomore point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant for the rest of the NCAA Tournament.  X-rays taken on Tuesday revealed that Bryant has fractured a bone in the fifth toe of his right foot.  It’s not exactly clear when Bryant sustained the injury, but the cited report above says that he had noticed increased pain in the foot during a recent practice, then today’s imaging showed the broken toe.

The Mountaineers are famous for being chock-full-o-forwards, often playing four forwards and a guard at any given time (they have no true center).  Bryant — who averages 9.3 PPG and 3.1 APG in 24.3 MPG — will most definitely be missed, but he’s not a traditional dime-dishing point guard.  He’s known more for the mental and physical toughness he brings to the table for his team, not so much for his high yield in terms of assists or forcing turnovers.  Da’Sean Butler, Kevin Jones, and Devin Ebanks — the only three Mountaineers who average more than 30 minutes per game — do most of the ball-handling, and will only see a slight increase in touches, which they probably won’t mind.

The Truck, unfortunately, has a bum wheel. (AP/Mel Evans)

WVU also has a ready replacement in Joe Mazzulla, a 6’2 junior point guard averaging 2.2 PPG and 2.3 APG.  Mazzulla redshirted last year after injuring his shoulder, but has seen steadily increasing minutes throughout the season.  Mazzulla actually played more minutes than Bryant in the Mountaineers’ second-round game against Missouri, and the two had no problem with the Tigers’ vaunted full-court press.  His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.5 is higher than Bryant’s 1.5, though Mazzulla did average ten fewer minutes per game.  Any further minutes at the guard position will go to 6’4 junior Casey Mitchell (3.8 PPG, 0.4 APG in 8.3 MPG), who only played three minutes against Missouri but did contribute six points, four assists, and two steals with only one turnover in 11 minutes in WVU’s first round 77-50 win over Morgan State.

There’s been no mention of how severe Bryant’s injury is, but most fifth metatarsal fractures do not require surgery and heal on their own over time with the “conservative” therapies — ice for swelling, no weight-bearing on the foot, and immobilization with a splint or cast.

WVU chief Bob Huggins is certainly no stranger to tournament-time injuries when he’s got a team poised for big things.  Back in 2000 — another year in which the Final Four was held in Indianapolis — his #2-seed Cincinnati squad was a favorite to win it all before Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the Conference USA Tournament, and the Bearcats were subsequently dispatched in the second round by Tulsa.  The next time the Final Four is in Indianapolis and Huggins has a highly rated team, don’t blame the man if he sequesters his whole team in a padded room and locks the door, opening it only for games.

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It’s Official – Kalin Lucas Ruptures Achilles Tendon

Posted by jstevrtc on March 22nd, 2010

You knew it from the way he went down on Sunday afternoon, but an MRI confirmed today that star Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas tore his left Achilles tendon in that amazing second round game against Maryland.

The Spartans and their fans have to be wondering what else can happen to this team.  Michigan State’s players have already achieved more than what could have been expected of them, considering the injuries they’ve sustained:  Lucas is the team’s leading scorer and dime-dropper and is known as one of the mentally toughest players in the game.  Delvon Roe was visibly limping in the Maryland game on a right knee that’s already endured one surgery, Chris Allen could only go for four minutes because of a right foot injury he suffered in the first tournament game against New Mexico State, and Raymar Morgan has a busted tooth.

Mutual Support: Izzo and Lucas (AP/Rajah Bose)

If Tom Izzo and his banged-up squad want to get by a Northern Iowa team playing mesmerizing basketball right now, not only do they need more minutes and more production from already hurting players, they also need some serious help from the bench.  Korie Lucious averaged 22 minutes and 5.2 points a game during the season, but played 27 minutes and contributed 13 points including the game-winner on Sunday.  He and Draymond Green are the two Spartans who immediately come to mind as far as who has to really step up now.  Specifically at the guard position, Lucious and Durrell Summers can look forward to playing almost every minute if Allen can’t go.  Junior Mike Kebler (4.0 MPG in 22 games, 0.4 PPG), a former walk-on, played eight minutes against the Terrapins and could see even more time, now.  Derrick Nix (7.8 MPG and 2.5 PPG), a 6’5 and 280-pound freshman, and 6’5 sophomore Austin Thornton (5.7 MPG in 30 games, 1.1 PPG, also a former walk-on) can provide relief minutes at the forward positions; both saw time against Maryland, contributing eight and four points, respectively.

If you’d like to learn more about Lucas’ injury, read on:

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Will Irish Get Harangody Back This Season?

Posted by jstevrtc on March 1st, 2010

Today, reported Notre Dame coach Mike Brey’s announcement that Luke Harangody might not return this year because of a right knee injury he suffered in a game against Seton Hall on February 11th.  The injury, diagnosed as a bone bruise, is one that can take — don’t shoot the messenger, Irish fans — months to heal.

“Bone bruise” sounds like a vague term, but it actually provides a good description of what’s happening in this injury.  We associate the word “bruise” with bleeding and leakage of other fluids under the skin that makes that reddish or bluish blotch happen when we bang into something or when something bangs into us.  That’s pretty much what’s happening here, but instead of some external force being applied to a part of the body that causes blood vessels under our skin to break — like bumping into a table, or taking a punch with your face — this is happening within the bone itself.

An MRI of the knee (not Harangody's). The white part in the bone? There's your bruise. The bright white stuff in the middle is fluid inside the joint. (image:

When talking about a bone bruise of the knee, you’re usually talking about a force that goes through the joint, meaning along the length of the bone.  In other words, there’s been a downward, compressive force that has caused the femur (the big bone in the thigh) to press down on the tibia (the biggest of the two lower leg bones).  When that happens, vessels break along the tough, thick outer covering of the bone, leaking blood and other fluid into the bone space.  Because of that thick outer covering, that inflammatory fluid tends to build up and stay in that part of the bone — and that’s what causes the pain.

An x-ray (to check for a fracture) and usually an MRI are then done to make sure none of the stuff inside the knee (like ligaments and other stuff not visible on an x-ray) has been screwed up.  The report cited above states that there’s nothing structurally wrong with Harangody’s knee, so that’s obviously great news.  The problem is that  the inflamed area of bone can take months to clear up, and the inflammation makes it very painful to move the knee or put weight on it.

The treatment consists of the usual stuff like ice, rest, and eventually some form of physical therapy to get the knee back to its full range of motion.  As I’ve said before, these team trainers and team doctors are an extremely crafty  bunch of folks with some really great toys and methods at their disposal, like cold massage and electro-current therapy (those sound fun), that can speed up the healing process.

There’s no doubt Luke Harangody wants to return and hopefully he’ll be pain-free as soon as possible, though he’d probably return even if the pain was at a “tolerable” level.  With a bone bruise, though, because of the intensity of the pain, that tends to be later rather than sooner.  Harangody, as you know, is on just about everybody’s first- or second-team all-America lists.  He’s the second leading scorer in the nation at 24.1 PPG, and pulls down 9.9 boards.  The Irish are 2-2 without him, but the two victories have come in their last two games, and at the expense of two ranked teams in Pittsburgh and Georgetown — exactly what the bubble-dwelling Irish need right now.

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