Saturday against Auburn, Kyle Davis was a no-go despite extraordinary efforts by HealthSouth superstar doctor Jim Andrews to help the sophomore get back on the court. Andrews treated the center's elbow before and during the game.
"Dr. Andrews kept working and working on Kyle," Ellis says. "During halftime, he got the bone fragments adjusted and it looked for a while like Kyle was going to be able to play in the second half, but the elbow started bothering him again."
Coach Cliff Ellis prepares to send Derrick Bird into action. Bird, who was Auburn's leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, was held to just three points in 27 minutes of action.
The injury will be re-evaluated on Monday and surgery is likely, which means the nation's leading shotblocker will likely be out three to four weeks. Davis hyperextended his elbow in practice on Tuesday and the injury caused bone fragments to move in the elbow.
"It sure would have been nice to open SEC play with our point guard (Jamison Brewer who is in the pros) and our center on the court where we expected them to be."
Auburn normally presses full-court with Davis as the last line of defense. With the sophomore not available for that role and Arkansas being a good fast break team, Ellis said he decided to forego the press until late in the game.
"Kyle's absence hurt our interior defense," Ellis adds. "Normally, players have to work hard to get by our defenders to get a shot off inside. Kyle is able to change a lot of the shots or send them back out. They hurt us inside in this game." Davis is averaging 3.5 blocked shots per game.
Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson said he felt "lucky" to get out of Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum with a victory because he says his team always has difficulty matching up with the Tigers because AU often sets the tempo of the game vs. the Razorbacks. Despite Richardson's statement, his teams are 15-7 vs. the Tigers.
Adam Harrington scored 21 points in Auburn's 83-77 loss to the Razorbacks.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Center Marin Bota, who quit the team but stayed in school through the first semester, packed up this weekend and moved to Ohio University where he will be eligible to play for the second semester of the 2002-2003 season...Although he is not a center, the return from suspension of 6-9 sophomore Abdou Diame gives the Tigers so much needed extra size inside. Diame began practicing with the team on Dec. 28th after early considering a transfer to another college after being unhappy with his playing time. Diame played six minutes and did not take a shot. He had one rebound, one assist and one of Auburn's two blocked shots...Saturday's game was just the second time the Tigers and Razorbacks opened SEC play on Jan. 4, 1992 as Auburn defeated the visiting Razorbacks 110-92. Arkansas was ranked 16th nationally that day and was playing its first SEC basketball game after moving from the old Southwest Conference, which the Razorbacks dominated.