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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Brielmaier out 3-6 weeks

    Arizona’s thin interior took another hit as forward Bret Brielmaier is expected to be out three to six weeks after undergoing successful arthroscopic knee surgery Monday.

    Brielmaier injured the knee cutting in a non-contact situation during a shootaround Thursday before the game against Washington. He flew back to Tucson Friday to have the knee examined and was scheduled to have a thorough examination Sunday before having the procedure done the next day.

    Before the injury, the walk-on junior had earned a place in the Wildcats’ eight-man rotation for his rebounding and basketball IQ as one of the big men off the bench along with forward Jordan Hill.

    “”We (still) have to play the games,”” UA head coach Lute Olson said. “”In the past we have had Bret and Jordan, and now it’ll be a case of Jordan and somebody else getting time.””

    Olson said he plans to extend the bench a bit, with more time expected for forwards Mohamed Tangara and Fendi Onobun, who have mainly played just at the end of blowouts thus far.

    Brielmaier was averaging 1.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game in 11 games.

    UA athletic trainer Justin Kokoskie could not comment further on the extent of the injury, citing student privacy laws.

    Walters expected to redshirt

    Center Kirk Walters, who has been battling Mononucleosis, will not be the player who takes Brielmaier’s minutes while he is out, as UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough said he’s “”pretty sure”” Walters will apply for a medical redshirt season.

    Walters, who has also suffered from the aftereffects from a concussion earlier in the year, has played just three total minutes in two games, most recently a one-minute stint Dec. 9 at San Diego State.

    “”We feel at practice it’s difficult for him to sustain,”” Rosborough said. “”Now there are stretches where he’s very, very good, but it’s just very difficult for him to sustain like you need to at this level, and I think for his future and everything else it’s best that he just sits out.””

    Athletes can apply for a medical redshirt at the end of the season if medical issues require to miss the rest of the season if they appear in 20 percent or fewer of their squad’s games during the first half of the season, according to NCAA bylaws.

    That means Walters, a senior whose eligibility would be finished if the request is denied, would not be eligible if he plays in any contest past Arizona’s 15th game Thursday against Oregon State.

    “”It’s not for sure that it would be granted, but our hope is that it will,”” Rosborough said.

    Olson still mad about bad call

    Olson wasn’t happy – to say the least – about a call in the Washington State game in which two Cougars banged heads yet UA forward Marcus Williams was called for his second foul despite not making contact with either of them.

    The foul put Williams on the bench for the last 10 minutes of the second half, and Olson was still hot about it even two days later.

    “”I think that was a terrible call,”” Olson said Monday. “”We didn’t even have anyone near him. Afterward the official said, ‘I know I missed that.’ Yes, I know you missed it too. One of my best players is sitting on the bench for that, so don’t say you missed it and not correct it. I don’t want to hear it.

    “”If you look at the replay, we didn’t even have anyone around him, so they called Marcus for a push. Don’t just guess, because he had to be guessing, there’s no question.””

    Shakur lauded for play

    Without being asked, Olson praised the play of Shakur, who’s averaging 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as well as 7.9 assists per contest, second in Division I.

    “”If there’s a better point guard in the country right now than he is, I’d like to see who it is,”” Olson said. “”His leadership has just been so important to us as a team.””

    Olson said he’d compare Shakur to Arizona’s “”great point guards of the past,”” an illustrious list that includes Damon Stoudamire, Steve Kerr and Jason Gardner.

    Before the year, the Wildcats asked Shakur to provide lockdown defense, rebound, create opportunities for his teammates and knock down the open shot, which Olson said he has done.

    “”He’s scoring more points than he did going out looking for points,”” Olson said.

    – Roman Veytsman contributed to this report.

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