Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Key Injuries Could Affect MAAC Event Outcomes

Every team wants to have 100 percent health entering post-season play, but that's not always the case.

As we approach the MAAC's post-season tournament, here's a list of injuries (men first, followed by women) that might affect the chances of conference teams.

- Siena's Evan Hymes: The 5-foot-8 freshman point guard has been the team's indispensable performer, averaging 37.1 minutes per game as its only point guard. He suffered a knee injury in Sunday's victory over Canisius when he ran into the basket support trying to chase down a Canisius player on a fast break. The injuries has been diagnosed as a bad bruise, but Hymes told reporters on Monday that he's uncertain whether he'll play in Saturday's quarterfinal-round game against Manhattan.

- Manhattan's Mike Alvarado: The Jaspers have similar woes at the point guard spot as its standout sophomore has missed the last four three after catching an errant elbow near an eye in a game at Siena on Feb. 14.  On Monday, Jaspers' head coach Steve Masiello said Alvarado would be examined by doctors this week. "Hopefully, we'll get some better news but we're still waiting for the swelling to go down," said Masiello. "He's 50-50 right now. I don't know how many teams want to play without their starting point guard ... it's not fun. He's the heart and soul of our team. Can we win without him? Yes, and we're 2-1 since we lost him, with the loss a buzzer-beater. One of our team's strengths is depth, but at his position we're not very deep."

- Canisius' Gaby Belardo: Yet another point guard dealing with physical woes, this one a season-long back issue through which he has continued to play, but rarely practices. "If I had to throw a percentage on him, he's probably 50 or 55 percent," said Canisius coach Tom Parrotta. "I have to put an arm around him just about every day to keep him going ... he just doesn't practice. And, I didn't realize how bad shape he's in because of that. He chases good players up and down the court for 30 minutes every game and that's probably not fair for him. But, that's the situation we're in. We'll gear him up, get him some ice baths, have him see a chiropractor and his stretch guru and he'll get out there on Friday (in a first-round game) and give it a whirl."

- Fairfield's Derek Needham: And, yet, another injured point guard, and this one won't play again this season. Needham recently suffered a foot injury that has been diagnosed as a broken bone. Needham, a junior, is Fairfield's second-leading scorer and leads the team in assists. "We miss him because he's a guy who helps us do what we want to do in terms of our game plan. He's a really tough kid, but we've had to shut him down for the year. He's in a walking boot right now but that will get transferred over to a cast, although there are no plans for surgery."


- Rider Players: Junior forward Shereen Lightbourne suffered a preseason knee injury and is out until next season. Guards Ali Heller suffered a mid-season knee injury and Alyssa Parsons suffered a knee injury in a game on Friday, and the two seniors will not play again.

- Allison Braun, Canisius: The 5-foot-8 junior guard (4.8 points, 3.6 rebounds) suffered a mid-season shin stress fracture and has missed the team's last 12 games. Her return for tournament play is questionable. While her statistics are merely solid, she is the team's prototypical "glue" player as well as its most-experienced performer on a team without a senior.

- Corielle Yarde, Marist: The first-team all-league selection suffered an ankle sprain in Friday's game and, then, sat out Sunday's contest at Loyola. Yarde, though, wanted to play on Sunday but Marist coach Brian Giorgis kept her out to ensure that his standout guard would be ready to play in Friday's quarterfinal round contest of the MAAC tournament. Yarde is a certainty to play, but it remains to be seen if she'll be at full strength. The Red Foxes have also played most of the season without point guard Kristine Best, who suffered a knee injury in late November.

- Manhattan's Allison Skrec: The sophomore point guard, the fourth player to start at the position for the Jaspers this season, suffered a season-ending broken collarbone in a game against Siena on Feb. 2. She won't play in the MAAC tournament. The team has gone to point guard No. 5, senior Alyssa Herrington, since then and Herrington has been effective at the position.

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