Three trees on the mend

Minor injuries have depleted practice depth for Badger men's basketball team

MADISON—The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team's practices have recently been without three of its largest assets.

Forward Jason Chappell, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound sophomore, 6-11 redshirt freshman center Brian Butch and 6-11 true freshman center Greg Stiemsma have not practiced since Friday. Chappell will not play in Tuesday's scrimmage against UW-Platteville due to a right ankle injury. Butch and Stiemsma are doubtful with right foot injuries.

In each case the injury is thought to be minor in nature. The trio took turns riding a courtside stationary bike during Monday afternoon's session. They also did so over the weekend, according to Badger head coach Bo Ryan.

"I know they're making progress," Ryan said. "But we haven't seen them for the past couple days, except riding on a bike."

Butch missed three practices prior to last Wednesday's exhibition against UW-Parkside due to the foot injury. He played, though, and provided 13 points and four rebounds. After UW's day off Thursday, Butch practiced Friday but has not been available since.

The absence of the three young Badger post players has, albeit temporarily, impaired what appears to be one of UW's greatest assets this season: its depth. Tuesday, the Badgers' scout team consisted of freshmen Michael Flowers, DeAaron Williams and Tanner Bronson, associate head coach Rob Jeter, former Badger Freddie Owens and two or three team managers.

"Because of the gender-equity issue, you get 15 guys you get to put on your [jersey], we didn't have enough guys to practice," Ryan said. "Coach Jeter came out of mothballs again. We just can't go out on campus and go bring bodies on and practice. Yesterday's practice was a real struggle. We need to get more walk-ons. We have to get our number up from 15, and we'll try to do that by going through the proper channels, because when you have things like this happen, you've got to be able to practice.

"And I'm certainly too old to get out there to get anything done, so they couldn't use me. Coach (Gary) Close mentioned shingles for him, so he got out of it. Coach (Greg) Gard held onto his thigh and said, 'I can't go.' So we put two managers in there and were able to at least get some things done in five-on-five on a half-court level. So if we had them we could look to press more, and the competition stays high for positions, you have all that. But the past couple days, I haven't been able to see that because they weren't there. We just didn't have the numbers."

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