Cougar Guards Look to Heal Up

With two games left in the regular season – including Wednesday's rivalry showdown with Utah – and postseason play just around the corner, BYU's guardline is looking to get healthy and back to full strength. Jimmer Fredette is recovering from yet another illness, while Lamont Morgan is continuing to heal after having his knee scoped.

It seems somewhat ironic that with the multiple health issues going on with BYU's guards, Jackson Emery is actually one of the healthy ones. After all, he seems to have quite the knack for suffering one injury after another, even if they are minor ones.

However, it's Jimmer Fredette and Lamont Morgan that are working to get back into action as they deal with their own health issues.

After having already fought through a case of mono earlier in the season, Fredette started feeling ill about a half hour before the team's morning shootaround last Saturday. He couldn't eat anything during the pregame meal, and started suffering from stomach pains before the game.

It was rather unfortunate timing, given the enormity and significance of the game against New Mexico, but Fredette ended up only playing 16 minutes, most of which came in the first half.

Fredette was at practice on Monday but did not participate with the team. Fortunately, he appears to be getting better.

"Jimmer's actually feeling better today," said Coach Rose following Monday's practice. "[He] saw a doctor this afternoon, and I think he had some fluids, got an IV, but now it's just a matter of time to see how he feels. But he is able to eat a little bit, which is a good sign, and hopefully he'll be able to knock this out."

Monday's practice may end up being the only one that the star junior point guard ends up sitting out because of his latest illness.

"He's planning on practicing [Tuesday]," said Rose. "If he feels like he did today this afternoon, he'll try to practice [Tuesday]."

It's believed that Fredette is suffering from some type of stomach flu or virus, and that his illness isn't a mono relapse.

The Cougars will need to have Fredette back to his old self, particularly in time for the game against Utah on Wednesday, as he had a huge game against the Utes on January 30 and nearly singlehandedly took over what was a tight contest late in the game. He scored 36 points, including 12 straight after Utah got within five points with just more than five minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Morgan continues to rehab his knee and is making progress of his own.

"I don't think he'll play this week, but we might get him in practice," said Rose. "We got him some on some 5-on-0 stuff today. He's feeling pretty good. [We'll] see how he feels tomorrow."

Morgan even participated in team sprints at the end of practice on Monday. Rose said getting him playing full speed again is a delicate situation, but added that Morgan is feeling better and that's a good sign.

Fortunately, BYU has another weapon in its arsenal with sophomore Michael Loyd. With the Cougars down two point guards against New Mexico, Loyd did just what he did January 6 against UNLV when an ailing and ineffective Fredette was on the bench: he took on an expanded role and made numerous big shots in a tight contest against one of the top teams in the league.

This time the Cougars came up just short and couldn't pull off the victory, but Loyd was actually even more dynamic against the Lobos than he was against the Rebels. He played more minutes (24 as compared to 16 against UNLV) and was even better offensively, scoring 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 shooting from the free-throw line. Loyd scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and missed both of his free-throw attempts in that first UNLV game.

Rose said Loyd's performance against New Mexico could have a great effect on his confidence.

"I hope it really helps Mike, because Mike has kind of been up and down a little bit, and that's a great individual performance in a really big situation for us, and it could really help our team down the stretch if he starts playing with a lot of confidence. He played really, really well early in the year, and it's kind of been hit-and-miss since then. But if we can get some consistent play out of him, especially at that level, it will really help our team."

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