Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2001

Simien faces shoulder surgery Monday

Rehabilitation will last three months for Leavenworth standout

March 31, 2001


Kansas University basketball signee Wayne Simien will undergo surgery on Monday to repair ligament damage in his right shoulder.

Simien, a 6-foot-8, 240-pounder out of Leavenworth High, faces approximately three months of rehabilitation. If all goes well, he thinks he'll be ready to compete in pick-up games shortly after school starts in August or September.

"I am pretty disappointed, but I just want to get it over with so I can get back to work and get ready for my freshman season," Simien said Friday.

Simien first injured his shoulder with a month left in the regular season, then had it pop out of place Monday at McDonald's All-America practice in Durham, N.C. He will wear a sling for six weeks after Monday's surgery at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

After that, he'll start rehab exercises. He said he could be shooting the basketball by late June or early July.

"In a way, I'm fortunate it did happen when it did," Simien said. "If this happened before the season, I'd have to red-shirt. Now I have the whole summer to rehab and I won't have to red-shirt.

"The real battle will be from a mental standpoint," Simien added. "I won't be able to move around for six weeks and do things to help my game. After six weeks I'll start heavy rehab, work on weights and cardio to stay in shape.

"I'll work on range of motion, start putting some shots up and basically take it one step at a time. We don't want it to linger, so the doctors will monitor it so I'll be ready to go for my freshman season."

Simien knows all about rehab. He'd performed exercises on his shoulder from the time he hurt his shoulder up until the McDonald's experience.

"Going into the McDonald's game I felt 100 percent no pain," Simien said. "Some people there said I was pushing around some of those 7-footers. Somebody said the NBA scouts were buzzing a bit about me. Not that I'm thinking about the league I'm not going anywhere but it's nice to hear people say the scouts notice you."

Simien suffered the ligament injury when he skied to reject a shot off the backboard. He pinned the ball against the glass briefly, and excruciating pain shot through his shoulder.

"I hit it hard. It was like a volleyball spike I guess," Simien said of his block against 7-footer Eddy Curry, who has signed with DePaul but may head straight to the pros.

"I was pretty upset when it happened, like, 'Why does this keep happening to me?' But it's all in the Lord's plan and I just think I'll be even stronger when this is all over," Simien said.

Knee surgery sidelined Simien his freshman year of high school. He had a heart problem last year that was corrected via surgery.

"You hope it's over," he said of injuries, "but when you play the game of basketball hard, things sometimes happen."

Simien on Miles

Simien was upset at meager playing time given KU signee Aaron Miles in Wednesday's McDonald's game.

"The minimum amount of playing time (required) was 12 minutes a player. He played 13," Simien said. "He played a minute the second half. He was disappointed, but like he told me, he felt he didn't produce the first half and didn't really deserve time. C'mon, this is the player of the year in Oregon. I think he should have (played more).

"Josh (Childress, Stanford) and Cedric (Bozeman, UCLA) were upset. Josh played 14 minutes. Our coaches were from Texas and seemed like they wanted to play the Texas guys more than some others."

Capital Classic

Simien will not be able to play in next Saturday's Capital Classic all-star game in Washington, D.C. He will attend, however, and sit on the bench.

"I planned on leaving Tuesday, now I'll leave Thursday for the game Saturday," Simien said. "I can't play, but I feel like I deserve to get to go, after getting selected. I was devastated when I couldn't go in the McDonald's game. But it still was fun. I got to have a good time with the guys."

Williams on Doherty

North Carolina's Matt Doherty, a former KU assistant, on Friday was named Associated Press college coach of the year. Doherty's first Tar Heel team went 26-7, earning a share of the ACC regular-season title. The Tar Heels went 1-1 in NCAA Tournament play.

"Matt feels very good, yet feels the same void at the end of the year. We had the same kind of goals," KU coach Roy Williams said.

Both teams had desires to claim the national title.

"In some way it's kind of silly. You probably shouldn't have those kind of goals. It's the way I am and Matt, too. It was a huge, huge learning experience for him very satisfying to go back to his alma mater and have success," Williams said. "They were No. 1 for such a long time. It was a great, great year. They met up with a Duke team that was really good twice in a period of seven days. They lost twice and lost in the second round of the tournament. That leaves a void and makes you question a lot of things as a coach, but they had a great, great year. Matt will be a great coach for a long time."

Dunk contest on TV

Kenny Gregory's dunking ability will be on display today at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN. He did not make the Final Four of ESPN's annual Final Four dunk contest, held Thursday in Minneapolis. Horace Jenkins of William Patterson U. won.

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