Coach Bob Bender Will Miss Tonight's Men's Basketball Opener

Nov. 15, 2001

SEATTLE - Washington men's basketball coach Bob Bender will miss Thursday's regular-season opening game at Alaska Fairbanks due to a bruised rib.

Bender was scheduled to fly to Fairbanks with the team on Wednesday morning, but was at University of Washington Medical Center instead undergoing tests. He had another flight scheduled for Thursday that would have arrived in time for him to attend the game, but he was unable to fly due to pain from the rib injury.

Bender slipped and fell outside his house on Monday and developed a sore back. He attended practice on Tuesday despite the pain that increased in intensity throughout that night.

He was diagnosed with a bruised rib on Wednesday and released that afternoon. No internal organs were bruised as originally suspected.

The team arrived in Fairbanks on Wednesday afternoon. Bender spoke to the team via speakerphone on Thursday afternoon and expressed his regrets about missing the game. He also offered encouragement and assured the team they are in capable hands with Associate Head Coach Byron Boudreaux in charge along with assistant coaches Al Hairston and Eric Hughes.

Bender has a flight to Fairbanks scheduled for Friday morning. He is hopeful that the pain will subside sufficiently for him to take that flight and join the team Friday afternoon.

The Huskies are participating in the eight-team Top of the World Classic. After playing the host Nanooks on Thursday at 7 p.m. Pacific time, UW has Friday off and plays either Mississippi or Bowling Green on Saturday at 1 p.m. PST. The tournament concludes on Sunday.

Please note that Saturday's game will air on KVI Radio (AM 570) rather than KOMO due to a conflict with the Husky football game.

Bender is beginning his ninth season at Washington, having compiled a 105-124 record. His 105 victories rank No. 4 among all-time UW coaches.

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