Weems Cracks Nose, Needs Mask

FAYETTEVILLE -- His nose was swollen. Real swollen. Discolored and everthing.

A little crooked, and very puffy, Sonny Weems' nose kept the Arkansas junior from participating in contact drills throughout Thursday's practice.

The injury won't keep Weems from playing Saturday at Ole Miss. But what Razorbacks coach Stan Heath called, "a crack, not a break," could limit Weems' productivity.

An inadvertent elbow Tuesday night from Florida's Corey Brewer cracked Weems' nose. Subsequently, Heath said Weems would wear a plastic mask over his face in Tad Smith Coliseum.

"I'm kind of worried about it," Weems said. "I'm going to pick it up (after practice). I'll try to get used to it."

He gets one practice, today's, to become comfortable with the mask before Saturday's game.

Arkansas coach Stan Heath said he hoped Weems could adjust quickly to the mask. He said the mask gave Eric Ferguson some troubles last season after Ferguson broke his nose just before the Maui Invitational.

"(The mask) used to fog up on him, and he'd have to take it off," Heath said. "He'd get mad and then (trainer) Dave (England) would have to get him to put it back on again."

Then again, Heath said, some players have thrived with the mask.

"Sonny will get it on tomorrow, and we'll see how he does," Heath said. "But, you know, (Detroit Pistons guard) Rip Hamilton was pretty good with that mask on for a couple of years."

England said Thursday that Weems likely would need to wear the mask for two to three weeks as his nose heals.

Weems said the incident annoyed him. Yet, he prefers the alternative to not wearing the mask. He said he could barely even touch his enlarged nose without wincing.

"It hurts, I can't lie," Weems said. "It's killing me."

RPI Update

Several Web sites attempt to replicate the ratings percentage index (RPI) the NCAA Tournament selection committee consults, and Arkansas has moved up to No. 11 in two of them -- Jerry Palm's CollegeRPI.com and ESPN.com's InsideRPI Daily. According to ESPN's Web site, Arkansas has played the fourth-toughest schedule thus far this season. Boosting the Hogs' RPI rating, according to CollegeRPI.com, are two victories over Top 25 opponents (Alabama and Southern Illinois) and one win over a Top 50 foe (West Virginia).

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