Amis out indefinitely with foot injury


POSTED: Sunday, November 08, 2009

In a preseason rife with nagging injuries and ailments, the Hawaii men's basketball team must endure its worst setback yet.

Senior forward Bill Amis, a team leader and starter at power forward, will miss indefinite time as he recovers from a torn plantar fascia suffered in his right foot during Thursday's exhibition against Brigham Young-Hawaii.

Last season's de facto team captain was stoic as he moved around on crutches at practice yesterday, his foot in a boot that he will wear for about the next four weeks. From there, he faces an unknown amount of rehab time.

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound two-year starter for the Rainbows out of Pratt (Kan.) Community College has a redshirt year available—but he isn't resigned to using it. Amis said surgery wasn't an option.

“;I'm going to rehab like I'm coming back,”; said Amis, who led the Rainbows in 2008-09 in rebounding (6.5 per game) and blocks (41). He was also the second-leading scorer behind Roderick Flemings at 10.7 per game. “;And if I can't, then I'll have to talk with my family and talk to the coaches about my options. But right now I want to play with these guys and I'm looking forward to being able to do that.”;

When Amis hobbled off midway through the first half in the exhibition win vs. BYUH, the initial concern was whether Amis would miss the regular-season opener vs. Southern Utah next Friday.

It turned out to be far worse.

Amis made an L-cut in one of the Rainbows' halfcourt sets and felt a pop when he planted off his right foot. Doctors told him he completely tore the fascia connective tissue in the foot (which supports the arch), the same source of more-common plantar fasciitis.

“;This is my first real injury,”; Amis said. “;I was just saying the other day—probably jinxed myself—I said, I've never injured a joint, never injured a tendon ever. All I've done is twisted an ankle. Look what happens.”;

He seemed primed for a big year after a strong offseason and exhibition debut of 27 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks against Hawaii-Hilo last week.

Now the Rainbows must carry on without him likely until the Western Athletic Conference season begins in January—at the earliest.

“;We know Bill does a lot for this team, so for him being hurt, all of us gotta step up, and not just the post men,”; said center Paul Campbell. “;The guards gotta step up, as a whole team we gotta step up, because Bill's a big part of this team.”;

Despite the dour situation, Amis managed to crack a smile at times during yesterday's practice and sang along to “;Happy Birthday”; for Campbell's 22nd.

“;Bill's a very resilient person,”; Campbell said. “;He got a lot of confidence in himself, and doesn't let a lot of things bother him. I know Bill, I know he's going to bounce back from this real good. I'm not worried about him at all.”;

Nash said there are few comparative cases for basketball players of Amis' height—it is a much more common setback for runners. Amis and Nash agreed to let the foot heal completely before trying to come back this season. Amis considers it another challenge.

“;If there's any guy who's going to do his best to try to get back, it's going to be Bill because he loves his teammates, teammates love him,”; Nash said. “;But at the same time we have to look out for his future, and if he's not able to continue this year, then we have to look at all the other options. He's a guy we really count on for a lot of different things, not just his athletic ability but his off-the-court leadership.”;

Nash said Flemings or Petras Balocka might slide over to the 4 to replace Amis. That might free up a starting job for Campbell, who started 19 of the last 20 games last year.

On a positive note, guard Dwain Williams returned to full action yesterday from a jammed thumb that caused him to miss both exhibitions.