All coaches expect adversity during the course of a season, and welcome it as well. However through 12 games, the 2011-12 season, UCLAs Ben Howland has had enough.
Wed like to get rid of the adversity, said Howland. Weve had our fair share.
However, theres more.
During Tuesday nights practice, UCLAs starting point guard, Zeek Jones, sprained his left ankle after coming down on a teammates foot. The same thing happened for Norman Powell on a separate play.
Both players are in a walking boot and did not participate in team shooting Wednesday morning. They are listed as questionable for the Bruins (7-5) Pac-12 opener at Stanford (10-2) on Thursday.
Jones leads the team in scoring (13.3 ppg), assists (3.8 apg), and steals (2.1 spg). Powell is two games removed from a career night, when he scored 19 points off of the bench in the win against UC Irvine.
Jones has started all 12 game for UCLA this season and Powell has appeared in every game off of the bench.
If neither player can go, it will mean the Bruins will have to play a lot bigger, with David Wear almost exclusively at small forward. The absence of Jones and Powell can also mean valuable minutes for seldom used Kenny Jones. Tyler Lamb would also have to spend some time at point guard.
Howland has said hed like to cut down some of Jerime Andersons minutes but with these latest injuries that likely wont be a possibility. Anderson leads the team with 32 minutes per game.
Both Jones and Powell were undergoing treatment and not available to speak at Wednesdays media session.
Its going to be a big blow (if Jones and Powell are out of the lineup), said Tyler. I have confidence. I trust my teammates to pick up the slack. I think we will but Im still hopeful that theyll be good for the game.
Its been that type of season for the Bruins, including embarrassing home losses to teams from mid-major conferences, despite being ranked in the Preseason Top 25. That was followed by the dismissal of Reeves Nelson.
However, the team is happy with the way theyve responded to this point, having won five straight games heading into Pac-12 play.
We all have benefitted from that adversity and were a lot stronger and when something happens it doesnt freak us out anymore, said Anderson.
Weve all stepped up and everybody just embraced each other. We lost a close friend of ours and a teammate, said Lamb. Were all we have our team and our coaching staff. Everybody stepped up and everybodys become closer, and I feel like everybody is playing harder.