Hard Luck Cats

And the bad news continues. Not only are the Wildcats mired in a slump, but they are dealing with new injury issues. It seems that a week cannot go by without some new injury, illness or bit of hard luck hitting the team. In fact, there is hardly a player on the team who has not had to deal with adversity.

Let's look at the issues player by player.

Kirk Walters A concussion was not enough. Walters suffered a concussion in the early part of preseason practice and was held out of action. In fact, after Walters was initially cleared, he hit his head again. Not only did the concussion caused him to miss practice, but it limited his ability to condition so when he finally came back he had next to no endurance.

Walters played two minutes against Virginia but then came down with a case of mononucleosis. Not only did he have the illness but it too sapped him of even more endurance. Now, a few months later the big man can hardly run the length of the court without becoming winded.

While he is a likely redshirt candidate, he is no sure thing thanks to the two minutes against the Cavaliers and a one minute appearance against San Diego State. He cannot automatically take the redshirt but must appeal to the NCAA for a medical redshirt.

Mohamed Tangara Tangara has had bad luck his entire career and just when it seemed like things were finally going his way he injures his skull. With his back finally getting near 100% Tangara was getting meaningful minutes against ASU and playing well when he took an elbow from teammate Jordan Hill in the face. The elbow cracked his skull and caused him to undergo surgery. Now Tangara is out at least two weeks.

Marcus Williams Things came so easily last season for Williams, but this season has been a bit tougher. He had the run in on the bench in the NAU game. Then he injured both wrists. After the USC game the wrist was so bad that the Cats feared it was broken. He was held out of the ASU game for "violating team policies" and then last Saturday he twisted his ankle against North Carolina. He is not expected to miss any more games, but it could be one of those nagging injuries that hangs on for awhile.

Chase Budinger Budinger has remained healthy during the season but did battle illness prior to the season. He first got sick in Canada and failed to play in most of the games on the trip. He wound up needing his tonsils taken out and lost a lot of weight and endurance just before the start of preseason practice.

Nic Wise Most of the obstacles befalling Wise were of his own doing. Wise sat out two games for "personal reasons". Most speculated that he had an academic issue to take care of. Wise has since been cleared to play, but those missed games left the Wildcats with an even thinner bench.

Bret Brielmaier It was bad enough that Brielmaier hurt his knee, but he hurt it in pre-game warm-ups before the Washington game. The junior power forward underwent surgery and missed seven games. He came back for the UNC game but probably won't be 100% for a few more weeks.

Jawann McClellan After last season his struggles this season seem to pale in comparison. Most of his issues stem from his knees. McClellan underwent off-season knee surgery and was unable to accompany the team to Canada. Although he has played in every regular season game, he has been held out of a lot of practices, especially the day after games. Within the last few weeks his legs seem to be tired and he seems to be favoring his right knee just a bit. His shooting has suffered the most as he missed 16 straight three pointers at one point.

Fendi Onobun Onobun was dinged up for part of the Canada trip. Due to a knee injury he was held out of practice leading up to the trip and was only cleared to play the final two games of the five-game trip.

J.P. Prince Prince is no longer with the team but he too had his share of issues. He battled a virus for much of the spring and summer and it seemingly came back in the fall. He was held out of action with the virus, but also seemed to have a permanent place in Lute Olson's doghouse until he transferred out of the program.


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