Injuries continue to mount for TU basketball team
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
2/06/13 at 7:51 AM
If Danny Manning wasn't already at 10 on the frustration meter, the Zeldric King injury might have put him there.
In his first season as the University of Tulsa basketball coach, Manning hasn't had a full, healthy roster for any of the first 22 games. Last Friday, as the Golden Hurricane practiced in advance of its trip to Memphis - and just as freshman forward D'Andre Wright was cleared to play for the first time in six weeks - King sustained a foot injury. Surgery was performed on Monday.
King, also a freshman forward, may not play again this season.
"I don't know how fast he can recover," Manning said of the 6-foot-7, 270-pound King. "I don't know how fast he can heal. Is it possible he could play another game this year? It's possible. Is it likely? I don't know.
"We have different guys willing to accept different roles and challenges, but our margin for error is closing down because of the numbers of players we're working with."
Manning can be certain of this much - King certainly won't play in Wednesday's Conference USA clash with UAB at the Reynolds Center. Rashad Smith, Wright, Brandon Swannegan and Pat Swilling Jr. missed a combined total of 43 games because of injuries, and now King is on the shelf.
With consecutive losses to the two best teams in C-USA - 62-59 to Southern Miss and 94-64 at Memphis - the Hurricane dropped to 12-10 overall, 4-4 in league play. The Blazers bring to Tulsa an overall mark of 9-13, a C-USA record of 1-6 and an RPI standing of No. 169.
Defense has been an issue for the Blazers, who allow more points - 73.4 per game - than any other team in Conference USA.
"UAB is a good team. They just hit a little rough spot to start the conference season," Manning said. "We know they're a much better team than the record indicates.
"If you look at their scores, they're playing people really close. We have to play like the situation dictates in the conference race. We've got our backs against the wall right now. We've got a chance to win another home game and try to stay in that upper echelon of Conference USA."
In January, TU played at SMU in a match of significant Kansas Jayhawk basketball figures - Manning and first-year Mustang coach Larry Brown. On Wednesday, Manning competes against first-year UAB coach Jerod Haase, a Jayhawk guard in 1993-97.
"Jerod Haase is a good friend and someone I've known for a very long time," said Manning, an All-American at Kansas in 1984-88.
Against UAB, Manning is expected to go with a four-guard lineup that includes Swilling, who will make his second start of the season. Senior Kauri Black, who in league play is the C-USA leader in field goal percentage at .667, becomes the only Tulsa big man to have avoided injury.
Smith (left leg) hasn't played since November. After missing nine games because of a lower-leg injury, Wright played 11 minutes during the loss at Memphis. Manning indicates that Wright's leg may not be ready for much more than 11 minutes of stress on Wednesday.
"Those 11 minutes he played (at Memphis) - you could see that it taxed him," Manning said.
Said the 6-9 Wright: "I'll do whatever the team needs. With Zeldric's injury, and if we get in foul trouble, I may need to play a little more. Slowly, gradually - I'm getting there."
Injuries, Wright added, are "the worst part of the game, (but) we make no excuses about injuries. The game doesn't stop just because we have injuries."
UAB (9-13, 1-6 Conference USA)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F ||Rucker ||6-5|| 13.6|| 8.2|
|C ||Allhodzic ||6-10 ||9.9|| 4.5|
|G ||Jones ||6-2 ||10.0|| 1.9|
|G ||Williams ||6-4 ||9.0 ||5.8|
|G ||Purifoy ||6-5 ||7.5 ||3.0|
Tulsa (12-10, 4-4)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F ||Black ||6-8 ||7.4 ||4.9|
|G ||Swilling ||6-4 ||10.5 ||2.2|
|G ||Haralson ||6-4 ||9.8|| 3.6|
|G ||Woodard ||6-4 ||12.6|| 5.7|
|G ||Harrison|| 6-3|| 6.0 ||3.5|
7 p.m. Wednesday
Original Print Headline: Injuries are continuing to mount for Hurricane
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397