Knees give way to brotherly love

The Dinos’ men’s basketball team is beginning to look a lot like your grandmother’s patchwork quilt. With three players lost to injury since Jan. 21 and two more before that, they’re down to seven guys, only two of whom are starters.

John Woods has been on the sidelines since suffering an MCL injury against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. After a season in which he fell victim to a broken arm, a sprained ankle, an injured thumb and a bout of mono, this is just Murphy’s Law rearing its ugly head.

"He’s only played four games [this year] and now he loses his eligibility; it’s a terrible thing," lamented Head Coach Dan Vanhooren. "I probably feel worse for him than for anybody else."

Woods or no Woods, the boys still had games to play and it wasn’t pretty.

Just like when the Calgary Flames actually manage to win, something was eerily wrong when the University of Saskatchewan took a game at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium on the weekend.

John Riad worked it like he can on Fri. Jan. 27, scoring 32 points. The Dinos did what was expected and dominated the Huskies 88-80. Andy Strodeur took his usual place at the charity stripe, converting every opportunity en route to an 18 point night.

Saturday was an entirely different story.

Paced by fourth-year forward Calvin Palmer, the Huskies handed the Dinos an 81-74 defeat. Palmer was the dominant player all weekend; his two double-doubles and a final tally of 43 points and 21 boards stopped the Dinos dead in their tracks.

Calgary came up short again, disappointing many and losing rookie point guard Whit Hornsberger in the process. Things went from bad to worse when he was joined on the sidelines by center Chris Harris on Monday.

Hornsberger was hurt after an awkward fall late in Sunday’s game that dislocated his right shoulder. What was initially a two-to-three-week prognosis has been upgraded to day-to-day although it’s doubtful if he’ll play this weekend.

The most devastating news has to be the season-ending injury to perennial fan favourite Chris Harris. The big-man went down after a jump stop on Monday afternoon and didn’t get back up, completely tearing both his ACL and MCL.

"He’s a surgery candidate, so he has some decisions to make about his future," mused Vanhooren. "Depending on his surgery date, he needs to decide whether he’s going to play next year or whether he’ll take it off, saving his fifth year of eligibility."

With Harris and Hornsberger out of the lineup, Vanhooren. has been scrambling to fill the holes and shore up his team, adding former Dino Paul Guse as well as his twin brother, University of Alberta alumnus Dale Vanhooren.

"They’re both fifth-year players, so they give us some experience off the bench and they’ll give our key guys time to rest," said Vanhooren. "The guys that we have remaining are just going to have to pick it up a notch."

Regardless of who is or isn’t coming with them, the Dinos still have games to play this weekend, travelling to the coast to face the powerhouse University of Victoria Vikings who hold an impressive 13-4 record.

"We’re only one game out of fourth," said Vanhooren. "We’ll definitely have Whit back for the Trinity (Western University) game, so if we can go into Victoria and even come away with a split we’ll be in great shape."

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