Friday, February 13, 2009

Bad Afternoon

"I'd like to say 'Good afternoon,' but I don't really mean it."

That's how Jim Calhoun started today's teleconference call with reporters. Here's some of what Calhoun had to say about Jerome Dyson's injury:

"We're saying (his absence) is indefinite, because they truly don't know until they go in and do surgery on Monday, I believe, to see exactly what they find. There's a tear in the meniscus, and they can either repair it or cut a piece out. The best thing to do is repair it, which is what they try to do at all costs, so down the line five, six years from now, Jerome won't have problems. If they cut it, there's an outside chance he'll be back in 3-4 weeks."

"We're prepared for the worst. We wish for a good, if not necessarily speedy, recovery, so he can come back next year and probably be our leading scorer, and hopefully have a great career after that."

"Our goals are still attainable. Injuries happen, sickness happens, tragedies happen. This isn't a tragedy. What happened in Buffalo -- that's a tragedy. This is an unfortunate thing for Jerome."

***Calhoun said Craig Austrie will return to the starting lineup.

"He's started before," Calhoun noted. "We have a good record with Craig starting."

The coach added that both Donnell Beverly and Scottie Haralson will run a bit with the first team in practice today. But the three players who need to step up the most in Dyson's absence are, in order, Kemba Walker, Stanley Robinson (who'll see some time at power forward) and Austrie.

"Kemba will have the most significant rise (in playing time). Stanley, obviously, has got to do some of the things he's capable of doing -- some 18-point games, games like he had in the first half the other night ... more than the 2-point game he had at Louisville. I don't think this changes A.J., Jeff or Hasheem, given foul trouble or not."

***The coach said that after Wednesday's game, everybody was confident that Dyson's injury was no more than a bruise. Concern started creeping in when Dyson couldn't close his knee, and the pain didn't subside.

Calhoun said Dyson was "devastated" when told the news of the MRI findings while in the training room yesterday.

"He broke down, his teammates went to see him. It was a tough scene. But I put things in perspective for him. Things happen to people. You don't want adversity, but character doesn't come out when everything's going good. Character comes out when something very difficult happens. It's how you handle that."

"I tried to put some things in perspective for him. If he does come back and play in the postseason, it's a bonus."

***Calhoun said he still very much likes the team that will board a bus (with Dyson) to Newark, N.J. later this afternoon for tomorrow's noon game with Seton Hall.

"As I drove home (Wednesday night), I had seen Duke and North Carolina play, and I had certain feelings about our team. I still have those same feelings now. The adjustment will be different, we'll be a different team, but hopefully we'll get the same results."

"We lost a terrific player, but I like this group. Not saying we're better or worse, just different."

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