Banged Up

UA freshman basketball player Nate Rakestraw suffers a broken finger and will be out for 6 to 8 weeks.

The University of Arkansas will be minus one of its promising freshmen basketball players for up to two months.

Swingman Nate Rakestraw (6-5, 202), the former Springdale Har-Ber standout, dislocated the pinky finger on his shooting hand during a Tuesday practice.

"Nate just got out of surgery this morning," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey said. "It was his right hand, his pinky finger – he broke it, dislocated it and is going to be out 6 to 8 weeks."

Rakestraw played at 212 pounds last season, but got up to 230 over the summer before being told to get back closer to 200 and then doing so.

"Nate had problem last 25 pounds and worked so hard to be able to get to the right spots at the right time," Pelphrey said. "He and Mike (Sanchez) had probably been the most consistent of the freshmen in getting to the right spot and the right time."

But Pelphrey does not automatically plan to throw a redshirt on Rakestraw.

"Nate was going to help us a lot (early)," Pelphrey said. "At this point in time, I am not anticipating that (redshirting). Nate has a big-time skill in shooting that basketball, he is getting himself in phenomenal shape and he understands what to do.

"Physically some times it may be hard for him to go against some of the guys he has to go against," Pelphrey added, "but by the same token, he gives us something - he has the ability to change the scoreboard by hitting a couple of shots."

Pelphrey, who missed 13 games as a freshmen at Kentucky due to a stress fracture, plans to be ready to play Rakestraw when he is ready."

"I think it hurts us because he was getting better and we had limited guard depth already," Pelphrey said. "That's a big blow to us, but Nate is going to do a good job and we'll get him back. It will take some time and he'll miss some games, but we need him to get back and be a part of what is going to happen this season. It is a long year."

Plus Rakestraw did have the advantage of getting in the 10 practices in August before the Razorbacks played two exhibition games in Cancun.

"Nate spent all summer here, he went through an early preseason with the Cancun trip and gone through fall practice and now he has to stop," Pelphrey said. "I am sure it is a little deflating to him because he had put in a lot of hard work in a short period of time. But this is life and his attitude was very, very good yesterday. His parents are in full support of him and I think Nate is going to be a fast healer."

Pelphrey said that the Razorbacks had gone through 6 practices before heading into Thursday's workout, which followed his press conference.

"I think we have had six practices and we have had 4 ½ good practices," Pelphrey said.

Pelphrey has six seniors this season and thus six available scholarships for the Nov. 14-21 early signing period to go along with the spring date.

He does not want to sign six high school seniors.

"We have got six scholarships and I think we certainly would like to get four of them filled," Pelphrey said. "We feel like that is possible to get done and then take two into the spring and see what happens with regards to whatever. Sometimes there are some very positive things that go on in the spring. You would like to not have to recruit in the spring, but you never know.

"…I think as far as positions go, we are going to need some of everything," Pelphrey added. "We are losing Gary and Sonny and so there is two perimeter players so we would like to get two perimeter players and two bigs then just get more specific (in the spring).

"If we can get that done, we can re-evaluate and look at this, look at that and have some more leeway with things that we can potentially do."

Pelphrey said sophomore Michael Washington, who was held out of last Friday night's first practice due to a violation of team rules, has practiced well since.

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

Arkansas will have it's Red-White game on Friday night, Oct. 26 before opening its two-game exhibition schedule on Nov. 2 vs. West Florida.


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