It wasn't as if Cal State Fullerton had nothing to concern itself with before Henry Turner went down with an injury in the first half of a loss to Weber State last week.
Now, there's just more.
Turner, the second-leading scorer last season and a key to Fullerton's fortunes, is out two to four weeks with torn ligaments in his right foot. He will miss the Titans' home opener against Portland Thursday and a game at New Orleans Saturday. Fullerton has a week off after that, and does not play again until meeting Utah Dec. 19 in Titan Gym.
Turner's injury is another of the Titans' woes. They are winless after games against Montana and Weber State.
"We knew we had concerns going into the trip," said George McQuarn, Fullerton coach. "We were not sure about certain things. Those concerns now aren't just concerns, they've become problems."
Chief among those problems is inexperience. Without Turner, Fullerton is playing with only one returning starter from a 17-13 team. Last spring, McQuarn expected to open this season with three returners. But Derek Jones' serious injury in an August random shooting cut the number to two. With Turner's injury, Richard Morton, who has carried the scoring load in both games, becomes the only true veteran player, at least for a couple of games.
Inside, at center and power forward, the Titans are in need of stronger play from Oval Miller, John Sykes, Bobby Adair and Vincent Blow. None of the four has yet to reach double figures in rebounds. Only Miller has scored in double figures (10) and all have had serious foul trouble.
But for such foul trouble, the Titans might have pulled off a victory at Weber State despite playing most of the game without Turner. The Titans scored three more field goals than the Wildcats, but sent Weber State to the line 37 times. The 24 points the Wildcats scored from free throws were enough to give them an 81-77 edge. In two games, Fullerton's opponents have taken 68 foul shots.
Still, though they struggled in both games, Fullerton had chances to win in the final minutes of each.
"In both ballgames, we go up by three and by five, then let people back in the game," McQuarn said. "Maybe we just don't understand what it takes to win.
"We've got all kinds of problems. Our biggest focus will be on the things we have control over--trying to cut our fouls down, trying to become a better rebounding team, control the tempo, play better defense. . . . We're not a very good basketball team right now."
The Titans meet winless Portland (0-3) Thursday in Titan Gym.
"I think we're affected by the loss of Henry right now," McQuarn said. "I think that's affected the kids a little bit. We just have to regroup and get ready for Portland."
Four Fullerton football players received honorable mention for the Associated Press All-American team named last week. They are senior guard Ed Gillies, junior defensive tackle A.J. Jenkins, senior tight end Jim Thornton and senior return specialist Todd White. They automatically earned the honor as a result of being named first-team all-conference.
Tom Atencio, a senior midfielder on the Fullerton soccer team, has been selected to play in the Senior Bowl, a national college soccer all-star game that will be played Jan. 23 in Santa Ana Stadium.
Atencio, who scored seven goals and had four assists this season, has also been named a first-team member of the all-Far West team.
Jay Nettekoven, a freshman goalkeeper, was named second-team all-Far West.