Weems Suffers Minor Knee Injury In Practice

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas forward Sonny Weems spent much of Tuesday afternoon in the team training room after straining his knee in a practice earlier in the day.

Arkansas athletic trainer Dave England said Weems, the Razorbacks' leading scorer at 14.3 points per game, twisted his knee during practice.

England said Weems wouldn't participate in the second of Arkansas' two practices Tuesday, and the senior also missed much of the first practice because of the injury.

"Hopefully, he'll practice tomorrow," England said Tuesday afternoon.

But the knee injury isn't expected to be serious enough to keep Weems out of Friday night's game against Indiana in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Raleigh, N.C.

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said he didn't see how Weems got injured, but Pelphrey didn't sound as if it would be an issue over the next few days.

"I'm not sure what it is," Pelphrey said. "(I) don't really anticipate it being anything that will keep him out of practice."

Weems has struggled over the past two weeks, averaging 7.8 points per game and shooting 17-of-56 from the floor. But he broke out of the slump with 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting in a 66-57 loss to Georgia in Sunday's championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

White and Friends

Indiana forward D.J. White is no stranger to Arkansas center Steven Hill and forward Charles Thomas.

Hill was White's roommate last summer at a basketball camp for big men in Phoenix, and the two players spent some of their downtime talking.

"He's a really good guy. He's pretty mild-mannered, but you couldn't tell by the way he plays," Hill said of White, the Big Ten's Player of the Year. "He plays really hard with a lot of emotion. But off the floor, he's a pretty calm guy."

Hill and White have attended several camps together since high school, and this past summer gave the two big men a chance to get to know each other on and off the floor.

"For one, I know he's a quiet guy," White said of Hill. "On the court, he's known for his shot blocking. That's one of the attributes that he has that he uses on the court very well — great timer, great defensive player. But I can't really say I've seen him that much this year."

Meanwhile, Thomas has known White since their days as teenagers playing AAU basketball and attending Nike camps.

Thomas, a native of Jackson, Miss., said he was good friends with White, who's from Tuscaloosa, Ala. The two used to talk on the phone, but they've since fallen out of touch.

"Actually, me and D.J. White, we played a lot of basketball together and against each other," Thomas said. "... So me and him know each other pretty well. He knows what kind of player I am; I know what kind of player he is.

"It's going to be interesting to see how we match up with each other."

Free-Throw Woes

The Razorbacks have frustrated Pelphrey at times this season with their inability to make free throws.

That could be a problem considering games in the NCAA Tournament tend to be close and are often decided by a few late free throws.

Arkansas ranks 229nd out of 328 Division I teams in free-throw field-goal percentage at 67.2 percent. Indiana, on the other hand, ranks eighth at 76.3 percent.

The Razorbacks made 48-of-73 free throws (65.7 percent) over three games in the SEC Tournament, but they drained 11 straight during a late stretch in an 81-75 win over Vanderbilt.

"That's nothing we worry about," Arkansas point guard Gary Ervin said of the free-throw woes. "It's just about making the tough shots, coming to the free-throw line with seven seconds, down one, up one when you need two free throws to seal the deal. That's just something that we've just got to step up to the challenge."

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