Head Coach Ben Howland Addresses the Media with an Injury Update

Nov. 3, 2007


NOTE:At the beginning of today's teleconference, UCLA head men's basketball coach Ben Howland announced that three Bruins had sustained injuries either in last night's exhibition game or in today's practice. Junior guard Darren Collison tweaked his left knee in the first two minutes of last night's 111-61 exhibition win over Azusa Pacific. An MRI performed today revealed a grade one sprain of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). He will be out four-to-five days (meaning he will miss the Bruins' exhibition game on Monday, Nov. 5 with Chico State and will be questionable for the season-opener against Portland State on Nov. 9). Junior guard Michael Roll ruptured his plantar fascia in his left foot and will be out 3-5 weeks. Finally, junior guard/forward Josh Shipp sprained his right thumb in the second half of the exhibition game. His X-rays were negative, but he was pulled out of today's practice due to pain he experienced when trying to catch the ball. He is doubtful for Monday's exhibition game with Chico State.

on Darren Collison's Knee Injury

'It is basically going to be a pain tolerance situation with Darren. He can start playing as soon as he doesn't have limitations because of the pain. He will not play on Monday and we will see how he feels as the week progresses. He will be getting treatment every day. Based on the findings today, I can't see him being out longer than a week to two weeks at the most. It shouldn't be a long-term issue.'

on when and how Collison's injury occurred

'He said that it happened on the first play of the game. He went for a steal in the middle of the floor and he reached out with his right hand and as that happened, his left leg made a funny movement, like a twist. There wasn't any contact. I saw it on the film and it looked like he tweaked it with a sudden motion of his leg stopping and starting while twisting.'

on Michael Roll's injury

'I have another unfortunate announcement, Michael Roll ruptured his plantar fascia in his left foot today. Two months ago, he had an injection put into that foot, and he has had problems with plantar fasciitis over the last year and a half. It just happened today. He just jumped up and then boom, he fell into a pile. It is terrible timing because he has been playing so well. Mike, clearly, is one of the guys that makes our team the best offensive team it can be. Our best offensive team was and will be this year (Darren) Collison, (Michael) Roll, (Josh) Shipp, Luc (Richard Mbah a Moute) and Kevin (Love). So we are going to definitely miss him. It seems unbelievable that we just had our first exhibition game and then we have two injuries that are fairly serious, it never ends.'

on Josh Shipp's injury

'It happened in the game last night. I knew he had sprained it (right thumb), but I didn't know how bad it was. Today was just hard for him. He started to practice, but every time he caught the ball, it was painful, so I pulled him out. I expect him to play on Friday (season opener against Portland State on Nov. 9). We had it X-rayed today and there was no break.'

on hearing that Darren's injury was just a grade one sprain

'It is an unbelievable relief. As you can imagine, I was sick to my gut just thinking about all of the possibilities, but didn't want to talk about them until I knew what the facts were. Now with (Michael) Roll out, the question is who fills into that position and gets more minutes. Both Nikola (Dragovic) and Chace (Stanback) will have a chance to play some more minutes. It probably puts Luc (Richard Mbah a Moute) playing more minutes at the three and less at the four because it gives us one less perimeter player that I was counting on.'

on who will start Monday night

'Right now I don't know who will start because I don't know if Josh (Shipp) is going to play. I know that Luc (Richard Mbah a Moute), Kevin (Love), Alfred (Aboya) and Russell (Westbrook) will start and the other is up in the air based on our health. The next guy would probably be either Nikola (Dragovic) or Chace (Stanback). I will obviously err on the side of caution and there's a good chance I won't play Josh (Shipp) on Monday and hope that we can beat Chico State without Josh, Darren (Collison) and Mike Roll, who all played well last night.'

on the team's outlook after all the injuries

'Our guys are resilient and all very supportive of one another. No one has a season-ending injury so that is the good news. Josh (Shipp) will be fine by Friday, assuming that he doesn't re-hit it, but he'll be okay. Darren (Collison) will hopefully be back by Friday, but we will just have to wait and see.'

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