October 30, 2006
Stanford trying to fight through injuries
The last that Stanford needed going into its 2006-07 season were injuries, but the basketball team has had its share of those before the Cardinal have even played an exhibition game.
Freshman Brook Lopez had back surgery to repair a disc n his back on Sept. 22 in Palo Alto and has yet to practice with the team. Expected to be a major contributor his first year in Palo Alto, Lopez' injury is obviously reason for concern.
Also out for Stanford is junior center Peter Prowitt. The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder fractured a bone in his left on the very first practice of the season for the Cardinal.
This Saturday, Stanford held an open scrimmage for fans and junior forward Taj Finger sat out. Finger, 6-foot-8 and 190 pounds, has been suffering from back spasms and sat out Saturday as a precaution.
Stanford is going to need all three of the injured players this season. Prowitt averaged 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game last year, but without graduated forward Matt Haryasz was expected to see a bigger role this season.
Finger is Stanford's only returning starter and the slender forward averaged 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds a year ago.
Brook Lopez needs no introduction. The McDonald's All-American is expected to combine with his brother, Robin Lopez, to create a dominant frontcourt in Palo Alto.
With Brook Lopez, Finger and Prowitt all out for the time being, the pressure is on Robin Lopez and forward Lawrence Hill to perform at least temporarily.
It's unlikely for any of the post players to miss a significant amount of time this season barring the current status of their injuries but with two back problems and a broken bone, you just never know.
Hill, who averaged 47 points and 3.4 rebounds as a freshman, could be a major force for Stanford in the future. With the Lopez twins down low, Hill can be a combo post/wing, which allows him the freedom to feel comfortable in the game.
The bottom line is that in a conference struggling for solid post play, Stanford better get its arsenal of big men healthy as soon as possible.
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