Goods Out for Arizonas

After dropping two games last week in Los Angeles, hope springs eternal as Stanford returns home this week to close the regular season. That optimism does not include the return of sophomore Anthony Goods, however. The Stanford combo guard will miss the games against Arizona State and Arizona as he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain. What is his latest and when will he return?

The final regular season games for Stanford this week will be the third straight week playing without sophomore Anthony Goods.  The Cardinal combo guard suffered a high ankle sprain on February 11 and has missed the last four games.  Stanford plays at home Thursday versus Arizona State and Saturday versus Arizona.  Goods and head coach Trent Johnson both Monday pronounced that the guard is not available for either game.

"He's not playing," Johnson says.  "Even if he can go up and down three-quarter speed by Wednesday, no, he is not playing."

The extent of Goods' athletic activities at the moment are in the pool, where he is rehabilitating his injured left ankle.

"We're not playing Arizona State in the water, so he can't help us," Johnson judges.

Goods, who has averaged 13.0 points per game this sophomore season, is currently limited to shooting free throws on the court, though he says he will play next week at the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles.

"We'll reevaluate that down the line.  I'm going to make that decision.  I'm not going to play a kid hurt," Johnson declares. "We'll see.  The encouraging thing for us is that he is two weeks away or a week and a half away.  That's a positive, as long as there are no setbacks."

Stanford has seen slow roads to productive play for players after returning from injury this season, typified by freshman Brook Lopez and junior Peter Prowitt.  Johnson believes that the conditioning level of Goods and the position he plays will allow him to return to his former form much faster.

"He was in great shape, so I'm anticipating that once he can go, he'll be okay.  It's been two and a half weeks.  Usually it takes a full month of doing nothing to lose all your cardiovascular," the coach comments.  "Also, Anthony is a guy who plays in the backcourt, so it will be easier for him - if it is easy - to get in rhythm, as opposed to a big kid.  Big kids never touch [the ball].  He'll be able to touch it all the time.  He'll be in the flow of the game a lot."

Since Goods went down in the second half of the game at Washington, Stanford has lost three of five decisions.  The Cardinal did find two wins at home against Oregon and Oregon State, and they are back at Maples Pavilion again this week.  Though Stanford is 6-1 in conference home games this season, they sorely miss Goods in the lineup.

"Obviously Anthony is gone," says Lopez in explanation of Stanford's two losses last week.  "Obviously that's a big hit."

The seven-foot freshman has picked up some of the offensive slack, scoring 20-plus each of his last four games and raising his scoring average to 12.7 points per game.  In Goods' absence, however, the Cardinal are starting a backcourt that has combined for 14 three-pointers in this 27-game season.  Lopez is facing double-team defenses as opponents are able to crowd the paint and neutralize Stanford's inside strengths.

On paper, Arizona State on Thursday looks to be just what the doctor ordered for this ailing team.  The Sun Devils are 1-15 in the Pac-10 this year and have yet to win a conference game on the road.  Their recent performances suggest that they are more dangerous than their record indicates, however.  Arizona State's last six losses have come by an average of less than four points.  Sunday they lost to Arizona by three points.  The game previous, Arizona State upset USC, the Pac-10's third place team.

"The first time we played them, they manned us predominately the whole game.  Now they have a match-up zone," Johnson explains.  "I'll tell you what, now.  They're very impressive."

Stanford defeated Arizona State, 71-60, in their previous meeting this season in Tempe on December 28.  The Cardinal have won 15 of the last 17 meetings with the Sun Devils.

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