SAN DIEGO — When San Diego State's basketball team began its conditioning program Monday, junior center Gerald Murray wasn't in condition to participate.
Murray was instead resting in Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he had surgery Saturday for a fractured left kneecap. He is expected to miss approximately three months.
"He had fractured it a year-and-a-half or two years ago," assistant coach Dave Babcock said. "Obviously, instead of just putting it in a cast and letting it heal, they had to put in a couple of rods and wires so the bone wouldn't split further.
"We hope to get him back before Christmas. The doctor said it's usually a three-month recovery, and he said the surgery was a success."
Murray, 6-foot 8-inches, averaged 3 points and 2.3 rebounds as a reserve in 1984-85. He was expected to be a starter this season unless the Aztecs opted for a three-guard offense.
Without Murray, the Aztecs are down to three big men, all of whom are 6-8: returnee John Martens, transfer Steffond Johnson from LSU and freshman Kevil Brown from Grand Rapids, Mich. San Diego State also recruited 6-7 freshman Wilbert Frazier from Connecticut, but he did not qualify for academic admission.
"This is going to hurt us," Coach Smokey Gaines said of Murray's injury. "We miss the other big kid, Frazier. Now, we don't have many big kids."
Murray suffered his injury while jumping in a pick-up game. He won't be able participate when the Aztecs begin practice Oct. 15 or regular-season play Nov. 29. However, he may be ready by the time Western Athletic Conference play begins Jan. 2.