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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bayless likely to miss Pac-10 openers

    Jerryd Bayless
    Jerryd Bayless

    Hoops Notes

    Jerryd Bayless will have to wait to get his first taste of Pacific 10 Conference play.

    After spraining a medial collateral ligament in his right knee making an offensive cut Friday at Memphis’ on-campus training facility, the UA freshman guard will likely miss Thursday’s game against Oregon State and Saturday’s bout with Oregon, UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill said.

    Bayless, who sat out for Arizona’s loss to No. 2 Memphis, leads the team with 18.5 points per game – fourth in the conference – and 4.2 assists per game.

    “”When you lose that, you lose a lot,”” O’Neill said.

    Bayless won’t need surgery or a knee brace, but he has been going through treatment two to three times a day, O’Neill said. He added there is no timetable for a return, but that he’ll leave the decision up to Bayless.

    “”I think different guys come back at different speeds,”” O’Neill said. “”He needs to come back when he’s comfortable. Some guys heal better than others; some guys progress better than others.””

    Bayless said that he’d like to return for Arizona’s Jan. 9 game against ASU in Tempe, but for now, he’s taking it day by day.

    “”I might be back, I might not,”” he said.

    Whatever the timetable may be, it is expected that Bayless will miss less games than he did his during his sophomore season in high school when he missed 16 games after breaking his left wrist.

    Without No. 0 on the floor, Arizona will rely heavily on the offensive play of forward Chase Budinger and guard Jawann McClellan.

    “”I’ve gotta be more aggressive on the offensive end,”” said Budinger, the team’s second-leading scorer with 16 ppg. “”(Bayless) is our leading scorer, so his other teammates are going to have to step up on the offensive end and start making shots.””

    Nic Wise, whom O’Neill has dubbed the team’s “”sixth starter,”” will run the point guard position while Bayless heals.

    The sophomore, who is averaging 22.9 minutes per game and got his first career start Saturday when he tied a career high with 12 points while playing just under 40 minutes for the first time, said that playing without Bayless is noticeably different.

    “”It’s tough looking for that inside offense when (opponents) are looking for Chase and Jawann,”” he said. “”Even when players are keying in on Jerryd, he’s able to create shots for himself.

    “”That makes it easier on me, too,”” he added, “”because when they key in on him, it makes me more open for shots. We’ll miss him a lot until he comes back.””

    Brielmaier may return to face Beavers

    Bayless isn’t the only one that’s been plagued by injury.

    Forward Bret Brielmaier suffered a Grade 1 shoulder separation against San Diego State on Dec. 22. O’Neill said Brielmaier, who is averaging 3.1 points and 3.5 boards per game, will practice full-speed for the first time since the injury on Wednesday and that he hopes the 6-foot-7 senior will be ready to play against OSU on Thursday.

    “”He’s a smart player, defensively,”” McClellan said of Brielmaier, “”and that’s what I think we were missing in the Memphis game.””

    Brielmaier practiced lightly on Monday after missing Saturday’s game with Bayless – the first time Arizona lost two starters to injury in nearly eight years, since forward Richard Jefferson (foot) and center Loren Woods (back) missed a second-round NCAA Tournament loss in March of 2000.

    “”We would have had a better chance in the Memphis game if Bret could have played,”” O’Neill said. “”His numbers don’t say the same things (as Bayless’), but that’s two really dependable guys for us that are out right now.””

    Foul play

    Arizona hurt itself by picking up 21 personal fouls against Memphis. Five of the eight Wildcats that played collected three fouls apiece, including forward Jordan Hill, who’s found himself in foul trouble in many games this season.

    “”He has a tendency to get into quick foul trouble early in the games, and that kind of costs us,”” Budinger said of Hill, who picked up a pair of fouls in the first 2:30 of Saturday’s game. “”We really need him to be on the court.””

    Hill said that the tendency to foul – throughout the entire team – comes from not being mentally ready.

    “”We just can’t do that anymore,”” he said. “”That will be my last time (in foul trouble). I won’t let up.””

    Red out

    The Wildcats wore their red jerseys for the first time this season when they lost to the Tigers on Saturday. But McClellan doesn’t think their threads had anything to do with the loss.

    “”It doesn’t matter what jerseys we have on,”” the senior said. “”My freshman year, we wore red jerseys every road game, and we fared out pretty well.””

    Arizona went 30-7 that year.

    Arizona’s New Year’s resolutions

    Hill: “”Oh, you know I’m trying to win that (NCAA) championship. That should be everybody’s resolution.””

    McClellan: “”No New Year’s resolutions because I always break them, so I don’t set them anymore.””

    Bayless: “”Just to get back and get better right now.””

    Wise: “”I haven’t thought of that yet.””

    Forward Jamelle Horne: “”To be more committed to God, honestly.””

    O’Neill: “”Pray for patience here as we go along.””

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