Friday, November 02, 2001

Hollman's injury sizeable blow for UC

Bearcats left short at center

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The University of Cincinnati basketball team is shrinking, in numbers and in size. Derek Hollman, a 6-foot-10, 255-pound junior expected to be a backup center, is scheduled to undergo surgery on his left (non-shooting) shoulder Monday and could miss the entire season.

        Hollman hurt himself Oct.13, the first day of practice, while diving for a ball. He had been wearing a harness during practice and even tried sitting out a few days. But his shoulder has continued to slip in and out.

        Angelo Colosimo, the team's orthopedic surgeon, will perform the arthroscopically assisted procedure at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

        “The idea is to tighten the shoulder, but yet you want to maintain the full range of the shoulder,” Colosimo said Thursday.

        Aggressive physical therapy will begin Tuesday. Colosimo estimated three months of rehabilitation. Hollman's shoulder should be back to normal in the long run, he said.

        “It got to the point where even lifting weights, if he put a significant amount of weight on the bar, he could feel his shoulder shifting,” athletic trainer Jayd Grossman said. “It feels loose to him.”

        The Bearcats are left with 10 scholarship players and just one true center, 6-11 junior Donald Little.

        Hollman's absence places a greater need for freshman Jason Maxiell to play a big role and for backup forwards Rod Flowers and/or Rodney Crawford to be productive. Hollman, 21, from Itta Bena, Miss., averaged 12.0 points and 12.2 rebounds last season and was expected to help UC on the boards.

        Junior center B.J. Grove's departure from the program for personal reasons could hurt more than anticipated.

        “It leaves us short in a number of ways — short in stature and short on bodies,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “We're looking anywhere (on the team) for help.”

        Huggins said this situation reminds him of the 1997-98 squad that relied on Kenyon Martin, Bobby Brannen and Ryan Fletcher inside. That team went 27-6, won Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

        “We needed a big body,” Huggins said. “We got a lot

        done with B.J. last year just because he had such a big body. I don't know that we can do things all that much differently. We'll have to be a whole lot smarter. Donald's got to be a lot smarter, no question, and he has been.”

        If Hollman sits out this season, he might have only one year of eligibility remaining at UC. He started his college career at Tennessee State, where he sat out a season, Huggins said. Hollman played one season at Gulf Coast College in Panama City, Fla., then Panola College in Carthage, Texas. UC will have to apply to the NCAA for a sixth year.

        Grossman said Hollman will wear a sling for three to four weeks. Early in December, he will begin strengthening exercises.

        “Obviously we won't let him participate in any basketball drills until he can move his arm in every direction that it's going to be moved — whether he does it on purpose or whether it's just in the battle of playing — without any pain and without any problems,” Grossman said.

        “There's a chance” he could be back by the end of the season, Grossman said. “A lot of it is going to be how hard he works and how fast he can regain his strength. We can be fairly certain that he will have his range of motion back proba bly within six to eight weeks. The problem is strengthening ...”

        “In one sense, we're in a good spot because he's a big, strong kid, and obviously his body responds pretty well to doing strengthening exercises. In the other sense, we're kind of at a disadvantage because he's an inside player and probably a little more apt to get his arm caught in the wrong place.”

        Another factor: Even if Hollman is cleared to play late in the season, he probably won't be in basketball shape and will be behind on knowing what to do on the court.


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