Wisconsin’s Leuer Breaks Wrist, Out Indefinitely

Posted by jstevrtc on January 11th, 2010

The hallmark of Wisconsin basketball is efficiency, and they just lost their most efficient player.

It’s an instinctive thing to put your arms and hands out in front of you during a fall, because you want to use them as shock absorbers and cushion the blow.  Sometimes, the price for saving your head, neck, or chest is a broken bone in one of the upper extremeties if the fall is fast or awkward (or both).  Wisconsin junior forward Jon Leuer knows a little about this concept, learning about it on Saturday during the first half of the Badgers’ win over Purdue.  Attempting to reduce the impact from a fall, Leuer broke his left wrist, and there is no mention anywhere of when he might be able to return.

Leuer is the leading rebounder and shot-blocker for the Badgers, snagging 6.0 RPG and adding 1.1 BPG.  He has almost doubled his scoring output from last season, going from 8.8 PPG to this year’s 15.4 PPG, which is second on the team (Trevon Hughes averages only 0.4 PPG more).  His absence, though, will be felt in a slightly more subtle way.  If you’ve seen Wisconsin play, you know that they are the Ivan Lendl of college basketball.  Not a single movement is wasted, and they’re more than content to sit back and take their time, slug it out with you, wear you down with their physical and mental toughness, induce you into mistakes, then beat you with a mixture of power and intelligence.  Efficiency is the Bo Ryan mantra.

The problem for Wisconsin is that Leuer leads his team in just about all of the efficiency statistics.  Out of 345 Division I teams, Wisconsin ranks 337th in possessions per 40 minutes (62.5).  This is by design, but you can see how important it is that they score when they get the chance.  Wisconsin is good at this, ranking 15th nationally in points per possession (1.12).  Leuer averages 15.4 PPG but only plays 27.9 minutes in a game, on the average.  Extrapolating it out, Leuer averages 22.1 points for every 40 minutes he plays, a full two points higher than Hughes, who is second.  His overall efficiency rating and efficiency per possession numbers are also tops on the Badgers.

Wisconsin only turns the ball over an average of 9.2 times a game, second in the nation.  A team that prides itself on control and economy of this magnitude can only suffer when they lose the one player that basically embodies the style of the team.  While Leuer is on the shelf, Coach Ryan will have to try to find ways to squeeze even more points out of every precious possession but still take extra care of the basketball.  Most of all, he (and about every UW supporter) will be hoping that Leuer’s bones knit quickly.  Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, but there’s been no mention of a timetable or even which bones were broken, so it’s tough to say how bad this is right now.  The only good thing is that…well, Wisconsin is the Dairy State, so there’s no shortage of calcium for those bones.

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Buzz: Evan Turner Will Play Tonight

Posted by rtmsf on January 6th, 2010

This has been buzzing around for 24 hours, but it’s now been confirmed by Jeff Goodman that Ohio State superstar and November NPOY favorite Evan Turner will return to the court this evening in the Buckeyes’ home game against Indiana.  It was a little bizarre how everyone in Hoops Nation seemed to forget about Turner as soon as he broke several vertebrae in his back in a nasty fall versus Eastern Michigan.  We wrote in this space a month ago that Ohio State would be lucky to go .500 while he was out (expecting him to be on the mend until early February), and they’ve gone 3-3, losing all of their away games.  After tonight’s game against IU, the Buckeyes face games at Minnesota and Purdue, with a home game against Wisconsin.  OSU needs Turner back on the floor, and in a big way.  Even if he’s not 100% tonight or this weekend, his presence will go a long way toward keeping his team focused and calm.  This is great news for the Buckeyes, and even better news for college basketball. 

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Evan Turner Injured On Dunk Attempt; Out Eight Weeks

Posted by jstevrtc on December 5th, 2009

Usually when Ohio State’s excellent Evan Turner goes up for a dunk, it ends with the crowd looking on in disbelief.  Usually, that disbelief is a good thing.  Not so, this afternoon.  About seven minutes into the Buckeyes’ tilt against Eastern Michigan earlier today, Turner took a strong dribble into the lane, went up for a two-handed jam, took light contact going up, and couldn’t keep his grip on the rim as his legs kept going forward.  Turner was parallel to the ground…and then fell flat, producing that terrible disconcerting sound that you only hear with that particular type of fall.

Initial x-rays were negative, but more sensitive CT imaging at the OSU Med Center showed fractures of the transverse processes of the second and third lumbar vertebrae. 

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The transverse processes are places where other ligaments and muscles attatch, lending to the flexibility of the area.  If there is no associated injury, transverse process fractures are almost always treated conservatively — that is, with rest and relaxation.  Sometimes patients will have to wear a corset or something similar to add stability for a while, but if you allow proper healing time, the long-term stability of the lower back usually isn’t affected.  Turner will be out eight weeks, though.  The length of his convalescence is because, unlike a broken arm or leg, this is not a part of the body that you can just slap into a cast and let it heal.

December is indeed a cruel month for the OSU basketball program.  Last December, of course, it was forward David Lighty who broke his foot and was out for the rest of the season, changing the complexion of the Buckeyes’ entire 2008-09 campaign.  It’s always unfortunate when any player gets hurt and misses so much time, but Evan Turner is by all reports one of the true great guys in the game.  We hope his recovery goes well.

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Mason Plumlee Fractures Wrist, Out Indefinitely

Posted by jstevrtc on November 12th, 2009

Duke freshman Mason Plumlee suffered a hard fall in practice yesterday which resulted in a fractured left wrist for the 6’10 forward from Warsaw, Indiana.  The good news for Plumlee is that the wrist will not require surgery, and the Duke medical team will re-evaluate the wrist on a weekly basis.  Plumlee had already begun to fulfill the expectations he brought with him to Durham by averaging 12 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in Duke’s two preseason exhibition games.  The length of his recovery is dependent on the nature and location of the fracture, but an assumed 6-8 week convalescence would have Plumlee back in the Duke lineup around Christmas-time, at the earliest.

Plumlee was ranked as high as 10th in the ESPN 100 last year and was a likely starter for Duke’s first game against UNC-Greensboro this Friday.  For the time that he’s out, Plumlee’s contributions on the inside will certainly be missed as it means that the versatile Kyle Singler will have to be used more down in the low post as opposed to around the perimeter where the Blue Devils more urgently need him.

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Buzz: More Comings and Goings

Posted by rtmsf on October 29th, 2009

Tennessee Loses Another Player.  This time it wasn’t under horrifically scary conditions, but senior guard Josh Tabb, who was already on indefinite suspension by Bruce Pearl, left the program to spend time with his ill mother.  He only played 17 MPG last season, but he was fairly effective providing backcourt depth to Bobby Maze and Scotty Hopson, averaging 3/2/2 and shooting a high percentage from the floor (51%/42%).  It’s looking more and more like UT will be playing five 6’7 guys at certain points of the season.  UT: the Golden State Warriors of college basketball. 

Stanford As Well.  Sophomore guard Jeremy Green, an all-Pac-10 freshman last season, was suspended indefinitely by Coach Johnny Dawkins for violation of unspecified team rules. In relatively limited action last year, Green averaged 6/2 and shot 46% from three-point range, but he was expected to become a major contributor this season as the young Cardinal begins rebuilding.  This comes on the heels of more bad news last week, when 6’8 freshman forward Andy Brown was lost for the season to a knee injury.  Assuming we don’t see Green back in uniform this season, it could be shaping up as a long year in Palo Alto for Dawkins in his second year there. 

Nimrod Will Play.  Billy Donovan received good news from the NCAA this week, as the governing body cleared point guard and soon-to-be-opposing-fan-favorite Nimrod Tishman to play this season at Florida.  The 6’5 Israeli freshman was a late pickup for the Gators after Nick Calathes bolted for the pros, but according to Donovan, he may not see much court action this season, as Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Ray Shipman are currently ahead of him on the depth chart. 

Uncertainty About John Wall.  The John Wall Circus continues in Lexington, as Coach John Calipari stated during last night’s post-scrimmage press conference that Wall “has been cleared in every way” even though the UK president, Lee Todd, is on record this week stating that the school and NCAA are investigating his association with Brian Clifton, his AAU coach who was also a certified agent at the time.  Worst case is Wall pays back a little bit of money and misses 10% of UK’s games (Nov. 13 – Morehead State; Nov. 16 – Miami (OH); Nov 19 – Sam Houston State).  Not a huge deal, although we’re pretty excited around here to see the guy play. 

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Buzz: Senseless Death of Hampton Captain Theo Smalling

Posted by rtmsf on October 27th, 2009

Theo Smalling Dies as a Result of Accidental Shooting.  Really sad news from the Tidewater Virginia area today, as Hampton forward and team captain Theo Smalling died Monday night as a result of an accidental firearm shooting over the weekend.  Smalling was outside of a nightclub in the area when another man nearby mishandled a gun that went off, shooting Smalling in the abdomen.  No further details are available about the last few days, but it’s safe to assume that medical staff attended to his injuries to the best of their abilities, yet he passed yesterday.  Smalling, a senior at Hampton, was on pace to graduate this spring, and this is one of those stories that you just cannot stomach because he had his head on straight and his whole life ahead of him.  RIP, Theo.

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Buzz: Will Anyone Make It to the Season?

Posted by rtmsf on October 20th, 2009

UCLA and Washington Can’t Even Hold Full Practices.  But for different reasons.  At UCLA, five players (Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, James Keefe, Brendan Lane and Mike Moser) all have had minor injuries that are holding them out of practice.  None are serious enough to worry about, but is this a sign of bad luck or Howland toughening up his troops in Westwood?  At UW, seven players, including Quincy Pondexter and Venoy Overton, have been out sick with the flu so far this very young season.   

Breakable in the Big East.  St. John’s star Anthony Mason, Jr., has re-aggravated a hamstring injury that he originally suffered while on a Labor Day trip  to Canada, and will miss the next 4-6 weeks, possibly missing their first 3-4 games.  The  wing player sat all but three games last season after tearing a tendon in his foot, and is expected to play a big role in the Red Storm’s plans for this season.  UConn guard Jerome Dyson  suffered a less-serious contusion on his left knee over the weekend, the same knee that he tore the ACL in last February.  He should be fine, according to Jim Calhoun. 

Let’s play hard but be careful out there, huh?

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Tennessee’s Negedu Out For 2009-10 Season, Possibly Career

Posted by rtmsf on October 7th, 2009

Tennessee’s Emmanuel Negedu underwent surgery today to have a cardiac defibrillator placed inside his chest to monitor his heart and track any irregularities in its beat.  This means he is assuredly out of the lineup for the 2009-10 season, and in all likelihood, his basketball career has ended.

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But he has his life.  And for what must have seemed like an eternity to people at the scene last Monday, he didn’t have that.  After a weightlifting session, Negedu challenged UT guard Bobby Maze to a sprint on the indoor football field at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center on campus.  After he won the race, he suddenly fell over when his heart inexplicably stopped beating.  Teammate Scotty Hopson sprinted back to the training room, found trainer Chad Newman, who, along with director of sports medicine Jason McVeigh, shocked Negedu’s heart back to life.

He spent the last week undergoing tests both in Knoxville and the Cleveland Clinic, and the apparent schedule of treatment included today’s surgery.  After Negedu gets used to the idea that the procedure will help him remain alive, we’re sure that he’ll learn to appreciate this choice even though it may mean his basketball life as a player is over.  He wasn’t a major contributor to the UT team last season, but he showed a good amount of promise, and not having roundball in his life will undoubtedly be difficult for him.  Negedu  has had an eight-day period unlike that many 20-year olds will ever face, so we hope that his family and support network will be there for him when he’s trying to figure out what to do with a significant amount of additional free time on his hands.  The good news is that Tennessee will allow him to remain on scholarship to finish his degree, and we commend the university for that.  If he’s interested in remaining in basketball in some capacity, we’d love to see him near the UT bench as a student assistant of some sort.

Sidenote: what’s with UT and the serious health issues lately?  Two seasons ago, all-american Chris Lofton was playing with cancer and now Negedu has a heart attack at age 20?  ACLs and other minor sports-related injuries (i.e., Melvin Goins, today) make sense, but these are serious issues.

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Injury Bug Impacts Notre Dame

Posted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2009

Every year around the few weeks prior to formal practice you start to see these types of reports of players getting injured during workouts.  You hate to see it, but at least in most of these situations, the player knows that the year is lost and can start thinking about a full year of recovery rather than trying to rush it.  Case in point:

Notre Dame Loses Scott Martin

Bad news out of South Bend today – Scott Martin, a 6-8, 219 lb. junior guard who was expected to start for the Irish in 2009-10, will miss the entire season due to a torn ACL in his left knee.  Before transferring to Notre Dame, Martin averaged 8.5 points in his freshman year at Purdue, where he played 21.9 minutes per game.  Those numbers would have been helpful for Mike Brey’s team this year, as Martin seems to be in the same build as Ryan Ayers, a 6-7, 210 lb. guard who scored 11.1 ppg in 2008-09, his senior season.  The injury occurred during preseason workouts yesterday, and an MRI earlier today confirmed the ACL tear.

It remains to be seen who will fill in now that Martin’s Fighting Irish debut will be delayed another year. Besides Luke Harangody, no one on the team grabbed five rebounds a game last year, and now Brey will be forced to fill in with a smaller player (6-3 Ben Hansbrough, also in his first year after a transfer from Mississippi St.) or someone with little to no experience. While none of the incoming freshmen at Notre Dame garnered more than three stars from Rivals.com and Scout.com, they may see the floor more than expected. The Irish were already entering the season with questions as to how they would replace Kyle McAlarney, who was second on the team in scoring (15.0 ppg) and first in offensive efficiency. Undoubtedly, Mike Brey expected Scott Martin to help answer some of those questions.

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Emmanuel Negedu Medical Update

In Wednesday’s Fast Breaks, we reported that Tennessee sophomore forward Emmanuel Negedu was being held by UT doctors for testing after he collapsed while lifting weights and the team trainers had to revive him before taking him to the hospital. While Negedu’s collapse has yet to be diagnosed, the good news is that he’s been released from the UT Medical Center now.  Before his basketball future can be decided, Negedu will be seeing specialists at the Cleveland (OH) Clinic for more tests.  Thankfully, UT trainers Chad Newman and Jason McVeigh were on hand last week when Negedu’s collapse occurred, and we wish him all the best with his health (basketball can wait).
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Buzz: Jarvis Varnado Sent to Hospital For Tests

Posted by rtmsf on September 1st, 2009

Some troubling news came out of SEC country this evening as Mississippi State all-american center Jarvis Varnado was reportedly admitted to the hospital for tests today after becoming nauseous and having some breathing difficulties during a morning practice session.  Early reports suggested that Varnado may have been suffering from ‘exhaustion and a bad diet,’ but later clarifications stated that these are merely some of the possibilities doctors are considering.  MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said that everything is simply precautionary at this point and that they expect the star player to be out of the hospital Tuesday.  This is definitely a story worth tracking as we move forward because often medical matters such as these are rife with unintentional misinformation.  Let’s hope that Varnado is ok and back on the court soon.

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Buzz: Talk About Breaking Ankles

Posted by rtmsf on April 8th, 2009

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Buzz: Talk About Breaking Ankles.  Ty Lawson must be the fastest guard on earth, as it was reported today that not one, but TWO Michigan State guards have broken right feet as a result of Monday night’s game against the Tar Heels.  Korie Lucious and Chris Allen will both have surgery on Friday to repair the injuries, and they are expected to fully recover by next season (you know, when Ty Lawson can no longer inflict damage on them). 

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Chris Lofton Is Not Impressed

Posted by nvr1983 on March 24th, 2009

Earlier today a report came out that Tennessee junior Wayne Chism played against Oklahoma State with a broken thumb. During the game, I noticed that Chism wasn’t as productive as he normally is, but it didn’t seem like there was anything out of the ordinary. Although his line (11 points on 4/14 FG and 6 rebounds) was a little below his typical production it just seemed like an off-day. Still, I’m sure plenty of Volunteer fans will be asking themselves whether Chism’s injury, which was sustained during practice two days before the game, cost them a chance at making a run deeper in the tournament.

May or not be Chism's actual x-ray. . .

May or not be Chism's actual x-ray. . .

Regardless, this would be the 2nd straight year where the Volunteers title hopes were significantly affected by an injury or illness that was not revealed until after the season was over. Although we’re pretty sure Chism was in significant pain, it pales in comparison to what Chris Lofton endured last year.

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