Unless his condition changes dramatically, All-America offensive tackle Shawn Andrews will not play in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 31 because of a severe infection of polyups in his sinus cavity. Steroids being used to treat the inflammation might leave him ineligible anyway.
However, head coach Houston Nutt said that no final decision has been made. Nutt said he is leaving the door open if doctors say that Andrews' condition is better this week. In any event, Zac Tubbs will start against Missouri in the bowl game in place of Andrews.
Andrews said, "As of right now, (not playing) might be the case. I will keep praying that something will change. I want to play."
"If we had Shawn, it would be a bonus," Nutt said. "Zac has worked hard and deserves to start at this point with all the work he's put in."
Andrews came to Walker Pavilion about midway through Sunday's workout to meet with the media. He said he is "following what the doctor has ordered. I told him I want to play, but he is a well-respected doctor, one of the best in the world and I don't want to go against what he said."
Andrews said his initial thoughts after meeting with the Little Rock specialist, one of the same neruosurgeons at the UA medical school who treated Danny Nutt, was "that I'm a grown man and I can make my own decisions. But he tells me it is a very serious condition and can be life threatening."
Andrews said he saw scans of his sinus cavities that showed "huge" polyups. He said the doctor told him that the polyps were dangerously close to his brain and highly infected.
"I've been having trouble with my sinus the last 15 years and I've seen many doctors for it, but it got worse about a month and a half ago when I awoke in the middle of the night," Andrews said. "This time I couldn't get any oxygen and I was choking. My throat ached and was dry. I tried to get to the sink to get water and couldn't make it. I fell down and couldn't breath. I got to a place that I don't want to mention to get some water. It wasn't a fountain or a sink. I was on my knees. That scared me."
Andrews said the condition continued to worsen despite antibiotics. He sought a specialist the week after the LSU game and was startled by the news that his condition could be life threatening.
"With the medicine I'm on now, I can't play without a risk," Andrews said. "If some particals of dust got in my sinuses and mixed with this medicine, it is a condition that could kill me. I can't risk that.
"It's not about worrying about an injury as some have said. The Good Lord has looked after me this far and I wasn't worried about getting hurt in the game. That's not what this is about. That was the last thing I worried about. I will say that the risk of not being able to play because of the sinus condition (at the next level) is something that concerned me. I need to get it taken care of because I have thought about the things that my family has not had all these years. I have a chance to do some things for them and for them to have things that we never had before."
Andrews said he met with both Nutt and his offensive line mates Sunday morning. He said both meetings were emotional and tough. Several members of the offensive line came over to Andrews near the end of practice to shake his hand and wish him well. Jerry Reith invited Andrews to a chilli dinner later that night, but Andrews said he would be en route to Little Rock to see his doctor.
"I talked to my offensive line teammates in the team meeting room this morning," Andrews said. "I wanted to tell them face to face. It's my duty to go face to face with them. I love them. It was very emotional. I wanted them to know this was not about me trying to get out of something. I wanted them to know that I wanted very much to play in this bowl. It is going to be played near my hometown and so many people would be there.
"This is a situation that I could die. At this point in my career, this could be a really costly. You can't go against one of the best doctors in the world. This is the doctor who treated Bill Clinton. He treated Coach Danny Nutt. I saw the images. He said the polyups are very big and close to growing into my brain."
Houston Nutt said he did not talk to the doctor who is treating Andrews.
"We'll leave that up to Dean Weber," Nutt said. "Dean will see what they think later in the week."
As for the steriods, Nutt said, "We think that the steroids would be passed through his system by the time we play the bowl."
Andrews said he planned to leave Sunday afternoon for Little Rock for another appointment with the specialist and more medicine.
"Right now, they are treating me with the steroids, and then they will try another round of antibiotics," Andrews said. "They say if that does not work and reduce the infection, then they'll have to do surgery. They are trying to cure this without surgery for the time being."
Andrews Meets with Media
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