Hunter May Miss Rest Of Season

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas sophomore Vincent Hunter had his right arm in a sling Monday at practice and there is a chance the 6-foot-10, 214-pound forward from Little Rock Fair could miss the entire season.

Arkansas coach Stan Heath said nothing has been determined yet, but a decision will be made soon whether or not to have corrective surgery that will force Hunter to redshirt.

Hunter reinjured his troublesome right shoulder Friday at practice and again Saturday while setting a screen late in the Red-White game.

"We are still at the point where we know the doctors have to give us all the different options available," Heath said. "Vince and his family are trying to make some decisions as to what's best along with myself."

Hunter dislocated his right shoulder last year against Illinois Dec. 6 in Chicago and missed four games after averaging more than 20 minutes in his first five games.

After playing limited minutes in his next four, Hunter had a productive six-game stretch, including a 12 of 14 day from the foul line in Arkansas' 86-78 win against Ole Miss in Fayetteville.

Hunter stayed in Fayetteville all summer lifting weights to add pounds to his slender frame and he gained nearly 25 pounds.

He was part of a five-man rotation in the post along with junior forward Rashard Sullivan and freshmen Steven Hill, Charles Thomas and Darian Townes so far this season.

Not surprisingly, Hunter was feeling down Monday having to sit and watch practice with his season on the line.

"I'm kind of disappointed," he said. "I don't know if I'm disappointed in myself or what. I'm just disappointed right now. I feel like I'm letting my team down. I put in so much work in the summer time.

"I was up here the whole summer and it paid off for me. I got bigger and stronger. It hurts that I can't showcase my talent."

Head trainer Dave England said the more times Hunter dislocates his shoulder, the more frequently it will happen.

The rehabilitation period for Hunter's injury is 3-5 months, which would effectively end his season but still give him the entire summer to get back into basketball form for 2005-06.

"I think right now, we're probably going to operate on him," England said. The coaches, the parents, me and him are going to sit down and decide whether to go ahead and get it done or what."

In terms of the big picture, getting the problem solved may be best for Hunter, but he said that's no consolation.

"It's good for the long run," he said. "But I don't feel that right now."

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