By Josh Hyber/Photo by Allen Sharpe
Frank Martin called it “comical” the number of injuries that have happened on the South Carolina sports front this season.
“It’s one of them years,” the men’s basketball head coach said Sunday, pointing to injuries not only with his team, but to the Gamecock women’s basketball and football teams as well.
“You sit at home and you plan practice, and you want to teach A, B and C and you structure your practice a certain way, and then you show up and boom, another guy can’t practice. It kind of throws you for a loop a little bit,” he said.
Martin compared the slew of injuries to the first year he coached at Miami Senior High School in 1995-96. He lost four starters to injuries that year — three of them for the year — but still won the state championship. “Outside of that … I’ve never been a part of what we’ve been through this year,” he said.
But the coach doesn’t want to use injuries as an excuse for its 5-7 start.
“If I start talking about injuries, it creates a safety net for the players to accept losing or not be good enough, and that’s not fair to the next guy,” he said. “We’ve got to stay in the right place and help them and coach them to get better.”
On Sunday and Monday, the coach gave an update on three of his injured players: T.J. Moss, Alanzo Frink and Justin Minaya.
On freshman point guard T.J. Moss (ankle):
“T.J., they took the cast and re-evaluated. He’s got a pretty severe high-ankle sprain. That’s a significant time loss, six to eight weeks, some time in there, from the time of the injury. So red-shirting is on the table right now. We’re in those talks.
“He still has not played too many games. I believe the cutoff day is January 16. If you play after that date, a redshirt is off the table. … It’s on the table right now. We started those talks. He got back [from break] late night on the 27th. He went to see our doctor the 28th. All the opinions were shared with his family, with him, obviously our doctors, the trainer. We spoke about it briefly yesterday and we’re going to keep talking here. I’m a dad and a basketball coach. Yeah, I want to win games and I want our best players on the court as many games as possible, but at the same time, six weeks from now, is it the right thing to do for a kid to burn a year to have him play another six games? We’re trying to figure that out.”
On freshman forward Alanzo Frink (ankle):
“I’ve got no idea how long he’s out for. It’s a sprained ankle. It’s not a high-ankle sprain. It’s just a normal sprain. There’s a good amount of swelling. Trainers, anytime there’s a sprain, the first thing trainers want is swelling to go down, and then the next thing they look for is range of motion and strength.
“As soon as the swelling goes down, which today was a lot better than yesterday, then they’re looking for range of motion and strength. As soon as he can meet that criteria, he’ll be back on the floor.
“… Most ankle sprains are that you jump and land on someone’s foot. Or you’re running and you plant to cut and your foot just gives. He was running in a straight line. It’s part of his challenge. And I’m not picking on him. I say this knowing what that feels like, because I was a heavy kid when I was young. … He still runs like a heavy kid, where he slides and takes short little steps rather stride and pick your feet up off the ground. … He was trying to run faster than you can striding that way and his shoe just caught on the floor and his ankle gave.”
On sophomore wing Justin Minaya (knee):
“Justin’s doing some shooting on the side. He’s still not close. And what I mean by close, he’s not in the next 5-6 days. It’s still a little longer than that.”
Martin said Monday that if Minaya was healthy, the latter would play the power forward position. “And change how we play,” the coach said.