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Published: Tuesday, 12/10/2002

Stress fracture to Almanson latest bad news for BG

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - When the Bowling Green State University basketball team started its preparations for the current season, there was not a whole lot that was certain.

Five starters and a ton of scoring from last year were gone, but not much else was set in stone.

But 6-8 junior Josh Almanson was always a key part of the rapidly evolving picture with the Falcons.

A persistent ailment with his left ankle has changed that, however, leaving Bowling Green with even fewer experienced players, and leaving Almanson's prospects iffy, at best, for taking the court any time soon.

Almanson played in the opener at Detroit, sat out the Tiffin game, and then played a bit more against Buffalo. But when the pain and inflammation in the ankle continued, Almanson was sent to a specialist at Ohio State University on Friday to have state-of-the-art 3-D imaging done, and a small stress fracture was discovered.

He sat out Bowling Green's 62-60 loss at Northwestern on Saturday, and will likely remain out of the lineup for at least the next two weeks, meaning Almanson would miss tomorrow night's game at Michigan, a trip to play Alabama this weekend, and home contests with Oakland and Urbana next week.

BG head coach Dan Dakich said the time off and the rest might allow Almanson to return to the court and play without much pain, or, if the malady continues, he could still be redshirted for medical reasons and sit out the rest of the season.

“The option we've chosen is to do what the doctor recommended - shut him down for 10 days or two weeks, and then see how he is, see where he's at with playing on it,'' Dakich said. “The goal for Josh would be to have him back around Christmas time, maybe for the Rock-N-Roll Shootout [Dec. 28 vs. Cleveland State].''

Dakich said Almanson has played with pain in his ankle before, but Dakich is hesitant to allow that to continue.

“Josh has played with a bad ankle as a freshman, and he's played with a bad back. I think when Josh is hurt, he's hurt,'' Dakich said. “Sometimes he looks like an 80-year-old man running around out there, and sometimes he looks fine. But I'm not going to play him if he's limping up and down the floor like that.''

The loss of Almanson has compounded the numbers problems for Dakich, who lost forward Germain Fitch last week to a season-ending knee injury. Almanson's injury and Fitch headed for surgery left BG with eight available players, so Dakich took a look at sophomore Cole Magner and freshman Will Myles from the football team, and added them to his roster. Although they did not play in the Northwestern game, Dakich said they will likely be more than just emergency substitutes.

“I'll tell you what they've done - even in their first practice they were very comfortable with what we're doing. They both pick up things very, very well,'' he said. “I can see down the road here that they're going to get a chance to play. I was real impressed with them in practice.''

The Falcons (2-2) face a Michigan team that has not won this season, and lost its sixth straight game at Duke on Sunday. Bowling Green beat the Wolverines 65-59 at Anderson Arena last season.

“I think in their last game they struggled because of scheduling - going in to play at Duke,'' Dakich said. “The fact that they're 0-6 means there's some desperation there, particularly coming back home.”



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