By Robert Weiler
Just when things started to turn around for the BYU
men?s basketball team, the Cougars got some bad news yesterday.
BYU junior forward Keena Young injured his hand on Wednesday during practice and will be out for the rest of the season, starting with the Cougars? duel with New Mexico on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
?He?s probably done for the season,? BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. ?It?s very disappointing because we don?t have anyone at the four position now because Garner is not responding to any treatment as well, and that puts us in a very difficult position.?
Young said he was not sure how the accident exactly happened, but the injury was a cause of someone trying to slap at the ball following a rebound. Young had been playing with a torn ligament in his shooting hand all season that was normally taped up, but not at the time the injury was sustained.
Cleveland said there is long-shot chance that he
could be ready to go by the Mountain West Conference tournament, but even Young admits he would need some divine intervention since the injury usually takes five weeks to heal.
?The man upstairs might make a miracle or something and I?ll be back for the (tournament),? Young said. ?I hope he do, but they don;t want to rush it.?
The loss of Young is especially tough because of
his play against New Mexico in January. Young?s 14 points and seven rebounds were critical to BYU?s 68-53 win. BYU was also counting on his defensive abilitiy to guard New Mexico?s Danny Granger.
Granger missed last month?s game because of injury, and has been a huge part of the Lobos? success this season. New Mexico was 0-3 in his absence, but have gone 4-1 since his return to the lineup benefitting from his play, which has been nearly a double-double every game. The Lobos will also have David Chiotti inside on Saturday, who missed the second half of two teams? first meeting because of injury.
Along with Granger and Chiotti, Saturday?s game
also has one intangible that many of the Cougar
players have yet to experience: The Pit.
Terry Nashif, one of the few players on BYU?s
roster who has played in the Lobos? infamous arena, said one of the most unique parts of the atmosphere in Albuquerque is the Snake, one of New Mexico?s front row fans.
?There?s a lot of history there,? he said. ?Their fans
are older and they?re really loud. They yell a lot and
they know what to say.?
BYU?s win over New Mexico was its best win of the season, considering the Lobos? 18-6 record. The
Cougars have only recorded one other win against a
team with a winning record to-date in the season
(Santa Clara is 13-12). New Mexico?s record still
gives them hope to be a part of March Madness, and could easily overlook BYU with the No.15 Utes coming to town on Monday, but Cleveland is sure that won?t be an issue.
?They can?t really lose a game if they want to make the NCAA tournament,? he said. ?If they lack
preparation for us and didn?t play well against us,
that (Utah) game has no meaning.?
Cleveland also dismissed rumors on Thursday that he was a candidate in BYU?s search for an athletic director.