The more Cleveland High Coach Bob Braswell studied game films last season, the more he was convinced there was something wrong with Damon Greer.
Greer was a junior point guard on last season's team that reached the City Section 4-A final before losing to Fairfax, 86-58. He averaged 8.1 points and 5.3 assists for the Cavaliers, who were 20-4, but something always seemed a little off with his game.
Normally a confident shooter, Greer hesitated with his shot. His normally crisp passes lost their zing, and often his follow-through didn't.
Injuries plagued Greer throughout the season. He missed four games with a sprained right ankle and suffered a concussion and missed half of another game. Braswell also knew his point guard suffered from a sore right wrist.
Greer injured his wrist in a game against the Cleveland alumni in December and played the season with it heavily taped. It wasn't until the season ended that Braswell learned just how sore Greer's wrist was.
After the City final, X-rays showed that Greer played the season with a broken wrist.
"Even though the hand kept swelling, he played the entire year," Braswell said. "I could tell it was bothering him but he never complained. It's a credit to him. It took a lot of courage."
Greer said he never thought of sitting out even though the injury interfered with his game.
"I couldn't shoot, my dribbling wasn't there and I didn't have as much control of the ball as I wanted. My passing wasn't as sharp. I couldn't have that extension with my wrist," he said.
"With or without the injury, I was going to play. I didn't want to use it as an excuse."
Greer has worn a cast since the end of the basketball season and doesn't expect to have it removed until July 8. He hasn't practiced with the team since the end of the season.
Without Greer, Cleveland has advanced to the round of 16 in the L.A. Games tournament, which continues today at El Camino College. Cleveland plays Bishop Amat at 9 a.m.
Michael Gray and Joey Manliguis have shared the backcourt duties in Greer's absence and aren't likely to move when Greer returns. All three are accurate from 3-point range and are expected to direct Cleveland's three-guard attack.
"We're deep at guard and all three guys can shoot," Braswell said. "We've been playing well in the Games but when Damon returns he'll make a big difference."
Although the Games are an exhibition, Braswell takes them seriously.
"A few years ago I would have said they weren't too important," he said. "But it has become a very significant tournament. It previews the coming year, and I tell my guys it's a chance to send a message. We can tell the other City teams what kind of team we'll be.
"Basketball has become a year-round sport. By the time the summer comes around you're a little tired. But the guys get up for the Games. They really want to win it."
Add Cleveland: Cleveland has scheduled a nonleague game with Simi Valley for Dec. 8 at Cal State Northridge. Simi Valley, which also has advanced to the round of 16 in the tournament, plays St. Bernard today at noon.
Simi Valley will play without 6-10 center Don MacLean, who is at Princeton University for a weeklong basketball camp sponsored by Nike. The camp features 100 of the country's top high school players.