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UCLA REPORT

Morrison's Return May Be Delayed

December 31, 2003|Elliott Teaford

Guard Brian Morrison's left hamstring injury could force him to sit out two more games, which could bring the total to seven before he is fit to play again, Coach Ben Howland said during a conference call Tuesday.

"He definitely won't be playing any of the first four conference games," Howland said. "I talked to Brian and it looks like the earliest he could play would be [Jan.] 15, the weekend of the Arizona State and Arizona games. We want to err on the side of caution with him."

Howland also said Morrison might sit out the games against the Sun Devils and Wildcats.

That's bad news for the Bruins, who begin Pacific 10 Conference play Friday against Oregon State at Pauley Pavilion. Morrison was the team's best three-point threat, having made 17 of 37 from behind the arc. He also was averaging 11.8 points before he was injured in the second half of the Bruins' victory Dec. 20 against Michigan State. UCLA is 4-3 in nonconference play.

Morrison had been starting at shooting guard, but Howland moved him into a reserve role for the Michigan State game. Morrison responded with 11 points and three-for-three shooting from three-point range in 27 minutes against the Spartans.

"He was a huge factor in the Michigan State game," Howland said. "[But] this is something we have to deal with. We'll put our heads down and keep going."

-- Elliott Teaford

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