Rakestraw Breaks Finger, Out 6 To 8 Weeks

FAYETTEVILLE -- Nate Rakestraw spent the whole summer fine-tuning his body. He lost 26 pounds, giving up all the foods he loves to eat. And he hit the weight room as hard as he ever had.

Unfortunately, all that work was temporarily negated Tuesday.

The 6-foot-5 Springdale Har-Ber graduate broke his right pinky finger during Arkansas' practice on Tuesday. He injured the finger going for a loose ball and will miss six to eight weeks, coach John Pelphrey said.

He underwent surgery Thursday to the finger on his shooting hand. Pelphrey expressed frustration while discussing the injury. He said that he felt awful for Rakestraw but that the injury wouldn't automatically translate to a redshirt season.

"Nate was going to help us a lot (early)," Pelphrey said. "At this point in time, I'm not anticipating (him redshirting). Nate has a big-time skill in shooting the basketball. He is getting in phenomenal shape and he understands what he's doing out there."

Senior point guard Gary Ervin said Rakestraw had been making great progress throughout preseason practices and this past week's official practices.

"I think it's a big blow," Ervin said. "He's got great 3-point range, which can keep the defense honest. We don't have a lot of depth in the backcourt, but then again, we're happy he did it at the beginning of the season if it was going to happen."

First Few Practices

The Razorbacks had their seventh practice Thursday. They worked out twice on Saturday and Sunday and once on Monday and Tuesday. They took Wednesday off.

Pelphrey said of the first six practices that he thought "four-and-a-half have been good and one-and-a-half were not so good."

"We have six seniors, so there's a lot of experience, but we also have some habits that need to change," Pelphrey said. "We're making progress towards what I call toughness. When practice gets hard or towards the end when things don't go your way, adversity sets in and then you find out."

Ervin said the practices have all been extremely intense. Sophomore guard Stefan Welsh said the Razorbacks enjoyed resting on Wednesday, though they were pleased to be back on the court Thursday.

"The practices have been grueling," Welsh said. "Once you start, it's like non-stop running. ... I think the Monday practice was the hardest. We had four practices in two days, and then it was kind of tough coming back for another hard one."

Washington Back

Sophomore forward Michael Washington returned to practice Saturday after missing Friday's scrimmage because of a violation of team rules.

Pelphrey said he didn't discuss the suspension with Washington at length. He wouldn't disclose the exact violation.

"I didn't ask him what he thought about it," Pelphrey said. "He knew he made a mistake and he has showed up and practiced well."

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