It appears that Loyola Marymount University's basketball team will go into the season banged up but intact after some scary pre-season injuries.
The scariest was a back injury Vic Lazzaretti suffered in a recent pickup game. Lazzaretti, the Lions' big man in the pivot at a brawny 6-8, apparently suffered a lumbar fracture. It will make him uncomfortable for a few weeks but the school said he is expected to be on hand when practice opens in two weeks.
It was feared that if Lazzaretti's injury was a disc problem, the senior might need surgery that would have ended his college career.
The other injured player is sophomore guard Enoch Simmons, who had arthroscopic knee surgery for a condition that did not heal over the summer. Simmons, one of the best athletes on the team and a probable starter, is supposed to be ready for action around Nov. 1.
The team begins practice Oct. 15 and officially opens Nov. 28.
Loyola had similar pre-season injury problems last year, when Lazzaretti hurt his foot and missed much of the practice period and Forrest McKenzie broke his thumb in the first week of practice.
Is this a down year for CIF high school football in the South Bay or merely a topsy-turvy pre-league period in which the good teams are knocking each other off?
This week's CIF coaches' ratings would support the suspicion that there are no real powerhouses among South Bay schools, at least none near the level of City powers Banning and Carson.
The ratings also reflect that the area's strength this year may lie in the Ocean League instead of the Bay.
Overall league records for interconference games show Ocean with a solid 11-7 record, compared to Bay's 5-13, Pioneer's 9-8-1 and Camino Real's 10-12-1.
In the top-10 polls, no South Bay team is a contender for any No. 1 spot and only two teams (excluding the small-school division) have found their way into the top five: Redondo, up to fourth in the Northwestern Conference on the strength of a 3-0 start, and Hawthorne, also 3-0, at fifth in the Southern Conference.
In the eight-team division, Chadwick ranks third with a 2-0 record.
The only other ranked teams are Miraleste and Morningside, ninth and 10th in the Northwestern Conference.
The polls also present several curiosities:
Morningside, 1-2 and coming off two unimpressive games, remains in the top 10 while league opponent Leuzinger, 2-1, hasn't cracked the lineup.
Hawthorne remained undefeated with a victory over competitive West Torrance but dropped from fourth to fifth in the Southern Conference behind Lynwood, which has a loss (to Carson) and is coming off a victory over outmanned Rolling Hills.
All of which probably proves nothing except that the polls are suspect until well into league play.