Howland at Pac-10 Media Day

Head Coach Ben Howland sat down for lunch at Pac-10 Media Day and answered some questions about the status of many of his injured players, when he might expect them back, how the injuries have setback the team, and more...

So, who will start Friday night if Arron Afflalo does play?

"It will be Darren Collison, Arron, Cedric Bozeman, Luc Mbah a Moute and Ryan Hollins."

Are you confident that the Jordan Farmar injury is just a minor thing?

"I am, based on what he's telling me. We're not going to play him tomorrow, just because it happened last Thursday. I want him to continue to strengthen it and he'll probably practice Monday."

With all the other injuries, everyone has forgotten about Mbah a Moute's shoulder. How is that?

"It's good."

So, Arron will practice today?

"I hope so."

And you'll base the decision on whether he'll play Friday on that?

"Yeah. I'll wait until tomorrow to make the decision. I'm anticipating him playing tomorrow. Today he'll practice and he'll wear a pad over the thigh today. If it gets hit again and calcifies, that's a bad deal."

How did Alfred Aboya get set back in his recovery from his knee injury?

"He got out there and tried to run a bit."

What do you think about the pre-season Pac-10 rankings by the media?

"I don't ever pay much attention to those. I think if we're healthy we can compete with anybody. We have to get healthy."

When you said Josh Shipp could be back by the 17th of December, is that for practice?

"Yeah. I'm thinking he'll hopefully start to practice then. Maybe play a little bit by the 21st or the 23rd."

How's his range of motion and his rehab?

"Good. They're doing a lot of work on it right now. A lot of stretching."

How bad is Michael Fey?

"He's been out over a month now. I'm disappointed he's not back now."

Is he going to need surgery?

"As of right now I don't think so."

Has he gotten better?

'He made good progress the week before last. Then this last week he took a step back and probably because he was trying to push it too hard. And he had to back off a little bit. Those groin injuries are really bad ones because they can linger."

What rehab is he doing?

"Running on the treadmill and biking."

Is there any reason to think you'll have him before December?

"I hope to have him here in a couple of weeks. I'm concerned about that, at the rate he's going."

Is this worse situation with injures...

"...I've ever seen. I feel for Tommy Amaker's squad last year every day now. He went through the same type of deal. He had three that never came back."

What does it do to the development of the team, and specifically Aboya?

"It really retards it. It slows it down."

Are the injuries related at all? With these guys spending so much time in the weight room, is it a result of something like that?

"I don't think so at all. Like with Aboya's case, he had a knee go right into his knee, that caused the twisting action. Luc, I saw it on film, he hyper-extended his shoulder. Shipp fell down and landed right on his hip. With Jordan, he's the best conditioned athlete by far on our team, and that's the one that's shocking the most. It's just a weird deal. I have it on film. He hesitated, then went and he could just feel it. I saw him pull up and then take himself out."

While he's injured, can Aboya still learn the offensive sets?

"That's what we were doing on Monday and Tuesday, but he started to tweak it again. He doesn't know how to go half speed. That's part of the problem. He's out there running as hard as he can. He actually ran a line drill, a spring up and back, one time, and then it hurt after."

Having not played a lot of basketball, that has to critical for him, learning the sets.

"Just learning the press offense. And you can't learn from just watching. You have to watch it and do it."

So it was his knee again?

"It was on the side. It seemed to be deferred pain from the injury."

So, it's not his knee?

"It's below. It's deferred pain. Sometimes the pain of the injury will hurt in a different area. I could be doctor here pretty soon."

If Ryan Wright plays in the exhibition game, can he still redshirt?

"Yes. But I don't expect him to redshirt. We just don't have that (depth), that luxury. If everyone were completely healthy, maybe his playing time would be in question. But right now, he's going to play. He's going to have to. Foul trouble? Who's to say, God forbid, someone else doesn't get hurt?"

So, is it really setting you back, not having them to practice with? And then you get into the season and it's just game after game.

"Yes. It's depressing. I was looking at the season so optimistic, and excited. We have all of these guys. But as I said before, better that it's happening now than mid-December. So you have to look at silver linings in everything. A year ago, we were upset when Ced got hurt. But here he is, and we really need him. I think Collison and Luke and Mike Roll will get a lot of experience here in the beginning of the year they might not have had, and that's going to end up paying off down the road."

How has Roll been?

"Good. He's smart and he can shoot."

How confident are you in Mbah a Moute playing the four?

"Very confident."

He can hold up defensively?

"Yeah. Dijon Thompson did it all last year and Luc is bigger and stronger."

But not just physically. In terms of knowlege of the game.

"He's learning. It will be a process. He's a freshman."

Have the injuries changed how much you can put in and how fast?

"Yeah. We've been slowing down that process, thinking we're getting guys back."

So, what we're going to see tomorrow night will be pretty basic?

"Oh yeah."

So, how many guys will you have for the NIT?

The most I'll probably have available for the NIT is nine guys."

So Fey and Aboya won't be back?

"No, they won't. Fey would be the one who would have the best chance. Today's the third, and that's twelve days from now.  We just want to be smart, and not rush back anyone. Like with Jordan, if tomorrow were a Pac-10 game he could probably play, but we're not going to risk that. The game doesn't count on our record."

Physically you think Jordan will have trouble when he gets bodied up?

"He'll be difficult to body up now, with how he is now physically. His issues will be with guarding bigger, stronger guys. He can get away from guys. He's quick enough. He's just much stronger than he was a year ago."

What's the realistic number of minutes for Jordan and Arron per game this year?

"About thirty minutes."

How much more will you get out of Jordan because he'll be fresher?

"We'll get more out of him. He'll also be better because he's stronger. Last year he was just a little freshman. He's also a year smarter and a year more experienced."

Has close is Bozeman to being the player he was in practice at the beginning of last season before he was hurt?

"He's not there yet. He just stopped playing with his brace. It wasn't that heavy, but cumbersome. He's stopped playing with it now, because I asked him to take it off. It really isn't that different, but it's a mental thing. I think it's really helped him the last two days.  So he's gotten better, and he's better than he was, but he's not where he was right before he got hurt."

Is he favoring it in his mind?

"Yeah, I think so. When you go down with one of those kinds of injuries you think about it.  But I think the fact that he's taken the brace off will help."

So what about Carleton?

"They really worry me. They were the national champions last year, and 28-0. They've already played 15 games this year. I think they've lost two games. And they're unorthodox. They're going to double the post every time it goes down. They go very compact and make you shoot from the perimeter. And they're very well coached. They play ASU tonight. ASU is probably healthy so that helps them."


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