Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chronic shoulder dislocation, and how to remedy it

This from the Baylor College of Medicine, regarding shoulder dislocation injuries. Though it talks about football injuries, this is largely germaine to Alterique Gilbert's issues:

For high school football players who suffer from chronic shoulder dislocation, the end of the football season is the best time to treat the condition with arthroscopic surgery, according to a sports medicine expert at Baylor College of Medicine.

The first time that a shoulder dislocation occurs, it is usually due to a collision where the arm is forced backward, which makes the shoulder pop out of the joint. This is usually very painful and needs to be addressed by someone who is trained in popping the shoulder back into place.

“Once the shoulder has dislocated the first time, it’s very prone to come out again, and it’s easier each successive time,” said Dr. Bruce Moseley, an orthopedic surgeon at Baylor. “The first time it comes out, it takes a pretty violent trauma. The second time, not as much. The third time, even less.”

Moseley said that with rare exception, the issue does not turn into anything worse. The biggest downside is that dislocation becomes easier.

“For some people, they can roll over in bed and their shoulder will pop out,” he said.

However, through an arthroscopic surgery that involves three small incisions, surgeons are able to fix the ligament that stabilizes the shoulder. The procedure has a 90 percent success rate in preventing the shoulder from dislocating again.

Recovery involves keeping the arm in a sling for three weeks, after which patients are able to return to day-to-day activities. Then, it is recommended that they wait three months before returning to the weight room. At three months, athletes can return to all athletic activities other than contact and collision sports, for which it is recommended they wait until the six month mark.

The best time for a high school football player with shoulder instability to have surgery is at the end of football season, because this allows for the six-month recovery period without contact before next year’s football season starts.

“When the season is over and the shoulder doesn’t come out anymore, many players think the problem is gone, but it has not gone away, they’re just not playing football. The next time they play football again it’s going to come out,” said Moseley.

Moseley notes that surgery is the only truly effective treatment for athletes with recurrent shoulder dislocation. For contact sports, there is a harness that athletes can wear that keeps the arm from being put in the position that puts it most at risk, but it limits what they can do with their arm and is not 100 percent effective in preventing dislocation.

While rehab is an option, it only strengthens the muscles around the shoulder. Since the injury is in the ligament as opposed to the muscles, making the muscles stronger will not prevent re-dislocation.

However, there is luck for older adults who may dislocate their shoulder for the first time – statistics show that the older you are at the time of your first dislocation, the less likely it is for the shoulder to pop out again. So for those above the age of 40, Moseley suggests non-surgical management, including rehab to get strength and movement back in the shoulder. This can help patients get back to normal in one month to six weeks. If it pops out again, then the orthopedic surgeon will work with them to see if surgery is needed.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rodney Purvis reflects on loss of his "brother"; takes full accountability for his poor start

As we chronicled back in July, Rodney Purvis lost his longtime friend - the closest he ever had to a real brother - over the summer. Tyrek Coger, who had an enlarged heart, collapsed during the sweltering heat of offseason workouts and died at age 22.

Purvis had been relishing the chance to play against his "brother" at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, when UConn faces Oklahoma State on Monday night. Now, he can only wonder what would have been, as Coger never even got the chance to don the Cowboys' uniform.

"I'm just gonna go out and have fun, and just play like he was on the court," Purvis said on Saturday.

(Purvis also lost his foster brother, LaQuan Anderson, in August. Anderson was found murdered behind a Raleigh, North Carolina home).

Purvis wouldn't blame his slow start this season on the loss of Coger, though he admits he wishes he would have handled the situation differently.

In fact, he addressed his poor start to his teammates in a players-only meeting in Los Angeles the other day, assuming full responsibility.

"I told them myself, I have to play better, and they know that," he said. "I'm taking it like a man. People can say what they want to say, but I'm gonna play better. Trust me, I'm gonna play better."

We'll have a preview of the Oklahoma State game on Sunday.

Meanwhile, while the Huskies were out in Los Angeles for Thursday's bout with Loyola Marymount, assistant coaches Ricky Moore and Dwayne Killings took a look at some local players, including Class of 2018 shooting guard David Singleton, point guard Brandon Williams and 6-11 Fred Odhiambo.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Alterique Gilbert feeling better, doubtful for Maui tournament

Alterique Gilbert suffered a left shoulder dislocation Thursday night at Loyola Marymount, and his left arm is in a sling. Gilbert reported feeling much better today, however. He'll do light rehab for a few days with trainer James Doran in Maui, then see the orthopedic doctor who helped him rehab his shoulder over the summer when the doctor arrives in Hawaii on Sunday.

Doran is also hopeful of getting an X-Ray and MRI.

Apparently, Gilbert's injury had nothing to do with the surgery he underwent back in May. It was simply the way he got hit in Thursday's win over LMU that did the damage. Could've happened to anybody.

Gilbert is doubtful for any of the Maui games, but UConn will wait and see what the doctor's evaluation is.

Speaking of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, the Huskies have had great success in this tourney over the years, winning the last two times they entered and eight games in a row overall.

In fact, the Huskies' Hawaiian history overall is a pretty good one - though it didn't start that way. They're first visit saw an upset loss to Ohio that had Jim Calhoun walking back to the team hotel afterwards.

Finally, having landed in Hawaii earlier today - at almost the exact same time as UConn, though on a different flight - we present to you this old video from our "Yo! MTV Raps" days. (Can anyone name the now-famous rapper who is but a sidekick in this video?):

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A sort of (0-2) homecoming for Kevin Ollie, Vance Jackson

It'll be a homecoming for Kevin Ollie and Vance Jackson on Thursday night as UConn faces Loyola Marymount, an L.A. stopover en route to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational next week.

Hard to believe the Huskies are 0-2 heading into the game, but such is the case. Here's an advance on the game, and here's a game capsule.

As mentioned in the advance, Mamadou Diarra's knee is still bothering him quite a bit. Nothing's been decided yet, but Ollie brought up the word "red-shirt," noting it is a distinct possibility for Diarra this season.

The news was better on Christian Vital, who sat out Monday's loss to Northeastern with back spasms. Although Ollie said that Vital's participation in practice was limited, he has been cleared to play on Thursday night.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

UConn falls out of AP Top 25 after loss to Wagner

Not surprisingly, UConn drops out of this week's AP Top 25 after Friday night's loss to Wagner. The Huskies were the only team to drop out of my AP ballot.

UConn did receive some votes. Here's the actual AP Top 25:

                       Record   Pts Prv
1. Duke (58)            2-0   1613   1
2. Kentucky (1)         2-0   1508   2
3. Villanova (5)        1-0   1492   4
4. Oregon               1-0   1349   5
5. North Carolina       2-0   1347   6
6. Indiana (1)          1-0   1322  11
7. Kansas               0-1   1206   3
8. Virginia             1-0   1121   8
9. Wisconsin            1-0   1097   9
10. Arizona              1-0   1092  10
11. Xavier               1-0   1025   7
12. Louisville           1-0    811  13
13. Michigan St.         0-1    729  12
14. Gonzaga              1-0    725  14
15. Purdue               1-0    700  15
16. UCLA                 2-0    622  16
17. Saint Mary's (Cal)   1-0    593  17
18. Syracuse             1-0    551  19
19. West Virginia        1-0    392  20
20. Iowa St.             1-0    254  24
21. Rhode Island         1-0    250  23
22. Creighton            1-0    232  22
23. Texas                1-0    230  21
24. Cincinnati           1-0    120   _
25. California           1-0    109   _
Others receiving votes: Dayton 102, Maryland 100, Florida St. 95, San Diego St. 54, Florida 38, Miami 38, Wichita St. 37, Butler 26, NC State 23, Virginia Tech 21, Texas A&M 16, Notre Dame 14, Oklahoma 11, Ohio St. 9, UConn 9, Marquette 7, Monmouth (NJ) 7, Clemson 6, Seton Hall 6, Colorado 5, Mississippi St. 4, Ohio 2, Wagner 2, Yale 1, SMU 1, Princeton 1.

The season's not over, folks, and the Huskies are probably a little grateful they didn't have to sit on the Wagner loss for too long and get back into action tonight against Northeastern. The last time UConn lost to Northeastern, Jim Calhoun was head coach of the Huskies. The Northeastern Huskies. It was 1985, and you'd obviously expect UConn's string of success to continue tonight (though Alex Murphy will give UConn all it can handle).

Here's my advance story for tonight's game.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

No excuses, but Wagner was a bad matchup for UConn

There is absolutely, positively no excuse for UConn to lose to Wagner. Not at home. Not at Gampel. Not in the Huskies' season-opener. Not with a team full of high school McDonald's All-Americans and other top-rated recruits.

Except ...

Well, Wagner is a veteran team, with its top two scorers and eight of its key players returning from a squad that won the Northeast Conference (yeah, I know, not exactly a high-major league) last year and beat St. Bonaventure in an NIT game. Wagner also plays a methodical, control-the-tempo type of style.

In other words, the Seahawks were exactly the kind of team a young (albeit) talented UConn team would not want to face in its season-opener. The Huskies could hardly put a combination out on the floor on Friday night that had ever played together in an actual game.

Remember when Jim Calhoun refused to play Holy Cross nine years ago, instead making a last-minute switch to Buffalo, and even promising Buffalo a game at their place the following season (which the Huskies accommodated)? It was because Calhoun didn't want his team, which was coming off one of its worst seasons in a long while, to go up against a slow-it-down, veteran team like the Crusaders.

We'll repeat: there is no excuse for UConn to lose to Wagner on Friday night. But the Huskies couldn't have picked a worse mid-major matchup to open up their season against.

On the bright side for the Huskies: they received some letters-of-intent recently.


Friday, November 11, 2016

What could be a very intriguing UConn season kicks off tonight

And so it begins ...

What could be a very intriguing season for UConn kicks off tonight at Gampel against a very competitive Wagner squad.

The Huskies enter the season ranked 18th, which feels about right (one spot lower than where I had them on my preseason AP ballot). There's no doubt the talent is here, it's just that much of it is young, or relatively inexperienced. Almost every unit Kevin Ollie puts on the floor tonight will likely be playing together in a real game for the first time. (Starting lineup prediction: Jalen Adams, Alterique Gilbert, Rodney Purvis, Terry Larrier, Amida Brimah).

So, it'll be interesting to see how it all works out. But it should be a fun journey, one that will take the Huskies through Los Angeles, Hawaii, Madison Square Garden, the nation's capitol and their AAC slate.

And it all starts tonight. Buckle up!

Here's my advance for tonight's Wagner game.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Jim Calhoun is ... poetry?

The New England Basketball Hall of Fame will host an all-day Reunion and Seminar at Springfield College on Saturday. Among those being honored will be Jim Calhoun.

Calhoun will receive our the Hall's first Basketball Genius Award for his unmatched ability to find and recruit young men well under the radar and coach those young men up to greatness.

Rather than present Calhoun with a trophy or medal, he will be presented with a poem written by acclaimed poet Jack Ridl. Here it is:

To Be a Genius
for Jim Calhoun

Any coach can say Yes
to a can’t-miss All-American.
Any coach can say No
to a high school bench warmer.

But a coach who says Maybe . . .
That can take a certain genius—

a coach who’s not sure, yet watches,
sees something, who thinks “If.”

“If I, if the kid, if I teach,
if he listens. If the kid
does the work, if he opens
his heart. If the kid stops going left

80 percent of the time, boxes out,
takes a charge, waits and waits
for his chance. If I can stick
with him. If he stays with me.

If I know what to say when he’s
ready to quit, if I know when
to say “it”—what he needs to hear.

If he believes I believe he can
get where I see him. When
at last he says Yes to what he
knows he must do—again and
again and again and again—then,
maybe then, when he’s hung it
all up, he’ll come back
to the gym, walk in, and say Thanks."


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Lots of UConn commits, targets to play in Hoop Hall Classic in January

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the field of teams and game schedule for the 2017 Spalding Hoophall Classic, an annual basketball showcase now in its 16th year at Springfield College. Games will be played at Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College January 12-16, during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.

The nation’s premier basketball event will once again showcase the top high school basketball teams from across the country, and will feature numerous top UConn recruiting targets - as well as a few Husky commits.

Among the UConn targets will be Mohamed Bamba, the Class of 2017 big man who plays for Westtown School in Pennsylvania. He'll play on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. against Arizona's Hillcrest Prep.

Earlier that day, fans can see UConn commit Josh Carlton play for DeMatha Catholic High at 4:30 p.m. against Bishop Gorman High.

UConn, of course, will be playing at Georgetown that day at a yet-to-be determined time. If it's early enough, perhaps the coaches can get back in time to see Bamba's night game. If not, you can bet they'll be there on Sunday morning.

UConn commit Makai Ashton-Langford will play on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 10:45 a.m., when his Brewster Academy takes on CBD Montverde Academy of Florida. Immediately afterwards, at 12:30 p.m., Putnam Science Academy - led by frequent UConn visitor Hamidou Diallo, who just cut his final list to six schools (including UConn) and 2018 target Eric Ayala - will face Vermont Academy.

Here's the full schedule:

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Kevin Ollie, Jim Calhoun on Ray Allen's retirement

Here's what Kevin Ollie and Jim Calhoun had to say about Ray Allen's announcement that he's retiring from the NBA:


“I believe we are all well-aware of the tremendous impact that Ray has had, not only on the UConn basketball program, but on the game of basketball at its highest level. His skills on the court were obvious, but the daily work ethic he maintained in order to retain those skills for so long was truly inspiring.

“On a personal level for me, Ray has been a great teammate both at UConn and in the NBA and he continues to be an even better friend.
“I know he now enjoys being able to spend time with his wonderful family and with his second family at UConn as well. I wish him nothing but the best.”


“We have had many great players through the years, but Ray is probably the No. 1 name brand we’ve had. We, at UConn, can all be proud of what he accomplished here and the greatness that he achieved when he went on to the NBA.

“He is obviously a very special player and he’s also a very special person on and off the court.”

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