Now the Garrett Nevels watch begins in earnest.
Nevels had surgery early Wednesday morning to repair the “gamekeeper’s thumb” ligament tear in his right (shooting) hand. He wore his numbed-up right arm in a sling the morning after contributing 10 points in Hawaii’s 76-68 win over Prairie View A&M.
“It was pretty cool. It was real early, but it was a smooth surgery,” Nevels said. “About like a half hour. (The doctor) just put my arm to sleep. It’s still asleep. It might be sleeping the whole day, but I’m all good.”
So when will Nevels be back? He’d previously resolved to be in for the start of conference play, but that is coming up fast — Jan. 7 is just around the corner. Such a fast return from surgery would figure to be unlikely, but with Nevels, a tough customer, you never can say for sure.
Prudence might dictate Nevels misses the first couple games of Big West play at the minimum.
“Shoot, if they let him, he’ll try to play tomorrow,” UH coach Benjy Taylor said. “But we’re going to have to be smart about this. He’ll go back (to the doctor) on Wednesday, we’ll slow him down and do what the doctors tell us.”
Nevels was able to shoot to an extent with the cast on the last two games, but he’ll have to prove that all over again whenever he returns. OC Sports color commentator and former ‘Bow Artie Wilson talked Tuesday about having a similar injury during his playing days, albeit on his off hand. He said it took him two weeks to recover, although he still has some scarring to this day.
Nevels got off to a quiet start in Tuesday night’s eight-point win, but he finished with a nice line of 5-for-8 shooting, with three assists, three rebounds and no turnovers.
So what will he do now that he’s sidelined for the time being?
“Shoot, I’m just going to take it easy,” Nevels said of his New Year’s Eve plans. “Kick back. It’s all I can do, really.”
The team held a light practice early Wednesday morning.
“We put a few new things in and got some shots up, and got some treatments,” Taylor said. “(Now) we’re going to give them a couple days off. Let them regroup. We’ll be off Thursday and Friday and come back hard Saturday. Practice all the way through ’til we play on Wednesday.”
This was cut from the bottom of last night’s Prairie View A&M game story for space reasons:
Montrael Scott had 27 points (10-for-21 shooting, five 3s) before leaving the floor in the final minute with an injury.
“He hit a lot of tough shots, he hit a lot of contested shots,” Taylor said. “There’s no doubt the team shot the ball well. … They shot the heck out of the ball and it kept them in the game. We were fortunate to get stops late.”
UH could not gain separation in the first half, but took a 38-36 lead at the break when Stefan Jovanovic hit a baseline jumper on a feed from Nevels to beat the buzzer.
Tony “Bones” Davis, who owns the UH single-game scoring record of 45 against Cal State-Los Angeles in 1959, was in attendance and was recognized at halftime.
Happy New Year, all.