At the start of every NCAA basketball season, due to the rich history surrounding their basketball team, UCLA is expected to have a very successful basketball season. When Ben Howland was hired as the head coach in 2003 expectations were as high as ever, and the rather disappointing last few years for UCLA has brought about talk of a possible head coaching change in the future. Yet many people close to the UCLA program would tell you that talk of a head coaching change is just ludicrous.
While Howland may have gotten away with two dismal seasons the past to years, this year will be very different. Many people had UCLA ranked as reeling in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, if not No. 1 then definitely top three. Howland now has the players to make a deep postseason run, barring any injuries. That last part may be the key to UCLA’s season.
About two weeks ago news broke that Tyler Lamb had undergone successful arthroscopic knee surgery, and would be missing some time. Now it seems as though this injury bug is becoming more of an epidemic. Today it was announced that UCLA forward David Wear sprained his right ankle in practice on Sunday.
Wear averaged 10.2 points, and 6.3 rebounds per game last season and was expected to be a key contributor this season for the Bruins. A spokesman for the team announced today that Wear will be undergoing X-rays on his ankle. David is the twin brother of Travis, who is also expected to play a key role along the front-line for the Bruins.
Although the Wear twins may not be the high profile recruits that every occasional fan expects to see when looking at an élite level program, they will be huge this year for the Bruins. They will both be splitting time with Joshua Smith and Tony Parker, two players who are extremely talented, but also inconsistent.
The one positive for UCLA is that, historically, ankle sprains are not a lingering injury, or one that should keep David out for an extended period. Now if the X-ray were to show a high ankle sprain, then there would be trouble, as it is an injury that would sideline David for a while.
At this point, with Lamb still nursing injuries, the NCAA yet to clear Kyle Anderson or Shabazz Muhammed, and the start of the regular season approaching, UCLA cannot afford any more key losses. UCLA opens up the season November 9th against Indiana State, they may wind up playing without several key players. Not exactly the start they wanted.
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