Ben Howland spoke in a conference call today.
‘'OK, fire away … here we are …''
Can you tell us more about Tyler Honeycutt's injury? What exactly is a stress reaction?
‘'You know, it's the precursor to a stress fracture, I guess … if you catch it early enough. If he were to continue to play on that without taking time off it would eventually become a stress fracture. We had one of these happen to Arron Afflalo. He had a stress reaction because of the kind of shoe he was wearing, but it was in the summer time. So he had to miss six weeks and we were able to be real conservative because there was no season to return to, and in terms of what is the severity of this reaction, I'm sure there are different levels of severity or, you know, just how serious it is, we'll know more tonight. He's going to see the doctor tonight. I wasn't worried on him seeing him this morning because he's definitely out for at least two or three weeks minimum. The right tibia – it's like shin splints only it's a lot of pain on one specific area.''
Is that how the injury was discovered? He was having a lot of pain?
‘'Right, a lot of pain right on a certain spot on his right tibia, in the front part where us laymen would say the shin splints area.''
What does his loss mean to a team that's already hurting?
‘'It's just another piece of adversity to deal with, that's why … you're always going to have adversity and we seem to have had more than our fair share when it comes to the amount of injuries we've had here early in the season. We do have, Mike (Roll) is back and Jerime (Anderson) … they both practiced, you know, they practiced last week I guess we played on Wednesday so they practiced on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, all the practice, and it was good, in fact both of them will start tomorrow. I just feel bad for Tyler. He had such a tough time this summer not being able to do anything because of his back and now to have this happen, I just feel terrible for the young man because it's … you know, he's done everything we've asked him to do. Hopefully this won't be anything that is going to last too long. I think he's made good strides to work real hard and so I'm counting on him being back, hopefully not too long away.''
How was he coming along in practice, where was he at development wise?
‘'He started in the last game and is our best passer. It's unfortunate for him because we need him to get out here and start growing and getting experience, and it's unfortunate for our team. What we're going to end up doing is playing (Nikola) Dragovic more minutes now at the three and play him where we played him his freshman and sophomore year.''
Do you have any idea about how many minutes Jerime Anderson might be able to go tomorrow night?
‘'No, I don't. We'll just play it as we see it. Our plan obviously is as many as he can handle, with his conditioning. But he's done a pretty good job in practice considering. I think he's had five full practices now. He practiced Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and that was complete practices, so that's over two hours. Hopefully he'll stay out of foul trouble, you never know, he could play a lot of minutes.''
How were those practices after the Concordia game?
‘'I thought they were good. I thought that our practices were pretty solid. We actually had Brendan Lane back in practice for most of practice on Saturday, but then this morning he called in and he was throwing up, he's sick now. That poor kid has had his fair share of adversity, as well. He hasn't seen the doctor yet, but he woke up throwing up.''
How about Mustafa Abdul-Hamid? I know he's probably going to have to play some minutes. Where does he need to improve?
‘'Just to be solid and take better care of the ball.''
Do you have any particular goals that you set going into an exhibition game, in terms of what you present to your team or what you want them to show?
‘'We want them to show improvement. You know, we were lucky to win our last game, and Humboldt State is a very well coached team. We're trying to pay the best teams we can, you know, the Division II NAIA type schools. They're well coached. If you go back and look at their record over the last 15 years Tom (Wood) does a great job and they'll be very well coached, as they always are, and execute well, so we want to come out and play well.''
Can you tell is a little more about them?
‘'They're a good shooting team. They're a team that executes well. They'll run a flex action, like what we saw in the last game, they'll run motion, they've got a lot of different things that they run. They're a team that's always at the top of their league … the Lumberjacks ... that's special to me only because I was once a Lumberjack at Northern Arizona. They're I think the only two Lumberjacks in the country.''