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Injuries bugging UH men's basketball team


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POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2009

The excitement of the first fullcourt 5-on-5 action for the Hawaii men's basketball team was tempered by the walking wounded around it.

The Rainbow Warriors were able to field enough players yesterday for a fullcourt scrimmage with referees—barely. Coach Bob Nash almost had to jump in himself to make it a full 10.

“;It wasn't as smooth as I would like, but it's understandable when you have to mismatch and use so many different combinations because of the bumps and bruises,”; Nash said. “;But I think the guys are working hard. Once we get in a situation when we have five guys out there going against somebody else, reps against someone else, it'll smooth itself out. Right now, guys have to play too many long minutes because we don't have the bodies to replace them.”;

Hawaii has its first test of the season in an exhibition against Hawaii-Hilo on Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center, assuming it has enough bodies to suit up. In part because of all the combinations used, Nash said he's leaving the starting five open for evaluation leading up to the game.

Forward Roderick Flemings did his first fullcourt running in more than a week, but still wasn't sure if he would be able to go against the Vulcans. Neither was forward Adhar Mayen, who's missed a week after taking an elbow to the head.

Guard Leroy Lutu Jr. hurt a knee after landing awkwardly in drills and was sidelined. Forward Ji Xiang was already hobbling around, favoring one leg at the start of practice. And newcomer guard Dwain Williams jammed a thumb on defense and was out for most of the scrimmage.

Newcomer center Douglas Kurtz is working his way back from a knee injury, but still can't go full speed. And transfer guard Zane Johnson has only been able to watch practices after recent knee surgery.

Bill Amis, one of the team's leaders, figures the progress made in the team's new read-and-react sets over the last week and a half has been reasonable, considering the casualties.

“;It was a good test of where we've come so far,”; Amis said. “;I thought we ran the offense well. Too many turnovers, but that's going to come in the early time. Once we get everybody back in, get a feel for how everybody plays and get some of the new guys in, I think our new offense is really going to be good for us.”;

The team celebrated Amis' 22nd birthday at the end of practice. Assistant Jackson Wheeler sang “;Happy Birthday”; the loudest.