Suggs Eyes Return By December Trip To NYC
Oct. 18, 2011
By Gregg Bell
The Huskies' coach then joked around with Suggs, to try to ease the sting of being injured and having to use them as they stood in a tunnel just off the main court at Alaska Airlines Arena Tuesday.
Suggs laughed breezily, showing the perspective of a veteran.
He is not letting his broken right foot and an eight-week recovery from surgery last Friday ruin his entire senior season.
"It's supposed to take eight weeks. That's December. So that's still plenty of the season left," the Dawgs' leading 3-point shooter said before his team practiced without him again.
As Romar said of Suggs, "He's all smiles."
"(It's) the initial shock of, `I'm not going to be able to play.' That's number one," the coach said. "Then number two, `This is my senior year, and I'm not going to be able to play.' I think that's still bothering him a little bit.
"But he's moved on. Now he's counting down the days until he can return."
The opener is Nov. 12, against Georgia State. There are five more games before the Huskies head to New York for games against Marquette and Duke in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6 and 10.
Suggs is targeting those showcase games for his return from his stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal on the outside of his right foot.
"That's the goal right now," the 6-foot-6 wing said. "We've got some preseason games (in which guys) can get experience in these games. Every time we've had injuries in the past we've had guys step up, so I don't expect it to be any different."
The stepping up this time will come from the many guards at UW's deepest position.
Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox, who missed Tuesday's practice after having a wisdom tooth removed, figure to go into Suggs' outside shooting and perimeter-defense roles for the next two months. There could also be room for point guards Abdul Gaddy and freshman Tony Wroten to play more together, with either Ross or Wilcox on the wing.
Romar said the first three days of preseason practice hadn't yielded clues toward exactly how the lineup will change with Suggs out for the two-time defending conference tournament champion and NCAA tournament team.
The injury, of course, is why a program recruits depth. Romar says nothing will change in the Huskies' offensive or defensive systems without its sharpshooter that was third in the Pac-10 last season making 45 percent of his 3-point shots. The coach said it's not like losing, say, a 6-10 center "and scoring machine" down low through whom an entire offense usually runs.
Suggs will be wearing a walking boot over his right foot for another two weeks. Two weeks after that, he is planning to begin some light running.
"It's not going to be easy. It's going to be tough," he said of beginning his long-awaited senior season on the sideline - including for the Nov. 20 game at Saint Louis, 45 minutes from his hometown of Washington, Mo. "But I think the team will be just fine without me. We've got guys who can step up.
"I'll just be ready when I come back."
QUICK SHOTS: Romar says last weekend's practices in Olympia showed Gaddy to be quicker and noticeably matured in his comeback from season-ending knee surgery in January. Gaddy thinks his time watching "like a coach" through last March's NCAA tournament run has made him a smarter point guard. ... Romar likened the play of his 6-3 junior to that of "highly efficient" Keith Price, the quarterback currently starring for UW's 22nd-ranked football team. "Tony and Abdul to me are like Jake Locker and Keith Price," Romar said. "Jake is, one play can make a highlight for the rest of the year. Keith is just a little more conservative. Takes his time a little more. Not as spectacular but highly efficient. Tony's Jake. He can make just electrifying, electrifying plays, at times." ... Romar said the team accomplished what it set out to Friday night through Sunday afternoon in three practices and time together at The Evergreen State College. "To bond together and set the tone how the season is going to go," the coach said of the goal for the eighth such trip to begin a preseason in his 10 years coaching Washington.