Sooners lose Hield in win over TCU
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Monday, February 11, 2013
2/11/13 at 9:46 PM
NORMAN — Athletic trainer Alex Brown walked from the medical room back to the Oklahoma bench, moved straight past the players to Lon Kruger, and leaned down and said something to the Sooners head coach. Assistant Lew Hill, seated to Kruger’s left, overheard.
He put his hand over his brow and rubbed his forehead.
Brown then walked back past the players and didn’t stop at his customary seat on the end of the bench. He kept right on going, so he could return and tend to injured OU guard Buddy Hield.
Kruger turned to Hill and said something. The assistant shook his head, leaned back in his seat and appeared to sigh.
And that’s when the mood inside the Lloyd Noble Center Monday night changed abruptly. That’s when OU’s 75-48 laugher over TCU became nothing to laugh about at all.
“It’s not good,” Kruger said when asked about Hield in postgame. “Buddy has a fracture in the fifth metatarsal (outer bone) on his right foot. They’ll discuss options tomorrow or later tonight and see where that goes. But it will be a while before Buddy gets back.”
The guess on Kruger’s postgame radio show was “four to five weeks.” That, of course, depends on Hield’s options and his recovery.
As of Monday night, the Sooners’ only option seemed to be to finish the regular season without their starting guard, one of their best defenders and easily their most energetic presence. Maybe Hield could return in time for the Big 12 tournament, or the NCAA if OU reaches that destination.
“I have no idea,” Kruger said. “Anytime you have a fracture it takes time to heal. We’ll have to leave that to the trainers and doctors to give us an anticipated return date.”
OU had been in cruise control since taking a 15-1 lead with 9:26 remaining in the first half. The Sooners (16-7, 7-4) erased any doubts about a hangover from their win over Kansas, and opened up leads of 36-11 at the half and 53-17 with 13:20 to play.
Hield’s two free throws made it 57-30 with 7:44 remaining. He hit the second, went to guard a Horned Frog in backcourt and ...
“I don’t know if he stepped on a foot,” Kruger said, “or rolled it on the edge.”
Hield subbed out 10 seconds later. He limped off the court and hopped around at the end of his bench before leaving the scene with Brown.
The Sooners went on to finish off the 10-14/1-9 Horned Frogs – they shot 50 percent to TCU’s 30 and had seven players score at least eight points – before considering their transition.
Kruger is most likely to reinsert freshman Je’lon Hornbeak into the starting lineup. He could call on Cameron Clark, who has played more forward this season, to step back outside. Both options played well Monday.
Make no mistake, however, Hield will be missed down the stretch. The Sooners are deep, but not to the point they won’t skip a beat without one of their key players.
Hield averages 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds. He leads OU in steals and free throw percentage, and is second in assists.
Just as meaningful is the effect he has on his teammates.
“It couldn’t happen to a better person,” forward Romero Osby said. “He’s one of the first people in the gym every day and one of the last people to leave. We love him like a little brother. It always hurts to see a family member drop down.”
“Knowing Buddy, he’ll still have the same energy from the bench. He’s still going to get us going, still going to take care of us,” forward Amath M’Baye said. “But I’m very sad about his injury. It affects me a lot, too.”
Oklahoma forward Amath M'Baye shoots in front of TCU forward Connell Crossland (2) in the first half of Monday's game in Norman. Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press