UCLA senior forward Cedric Bozeman, who spent 12 months diligently engaged in rehab after knee surgery in order to play one last season, is facing the possibility that season may already be over.
Bozeman tore cartilage in his left shoulder Tuesday during practice at Pauley Pavilion while guarding Jordan Farmar.
Initially, Bozeman is hoping rest, therapy and medication will cause the shoulder to heal. If not, the next option could be season-ending surgery.
If Bozeman's season is over, Bruin Coach Ben Howland said school officials hope to get permission for Bozeman to redshirt the remainder of this season even though he spent last season redshirting as well because of the knee injury.
"I'm just taking it day to day. It's tough to handle," Bozeman said.
"His season may be over," Howland said. "If so, we will fight to get him another year."
Bozeman didn't feel he had seriously damaged his shoulder when the injury occurred. After practice ended, he stood around talking with members of the media rather than alerting the team's trainer and seeking medical treatment.
But when the problem persisted, Bozeman was given an MRI exam, which revealed the damage.
"He feels all right," said Bozeman's father, Rudy. "This kid has been through a lot, but he takes it all in stride. Other players who had been through as many injuries as he has would have probably jumped off a cliff by now."
Rudy said he didn't learn about the injury until Thursday afternoon.
"It was a blow," Rudy said. "It felt like my stomach turned inside out. I am concerned about the health of my son. That is more important than basketball."
It was in practice a year ago, before the start of the 2004-05 season, that Bozeman tore an anterior cruciate ligament, ending that season before it began.
After serving as the Bruins' starting point guard for three seasons and leading the Pac-10 in assists his junior year, Bozeman was faced with a potentially demoralizing situation. He spent Bruin games as a mere spectator and countless additional hours undergoing extensive rehab.
He admitted asking himself at the time whether he wanted to put himself through such a rigorous regimen but ultimately decided it was worth the effort.
When Bozeman returned this season, he found a no vacancy sign in the Bruin backcourt with Farmar, Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison assured positions.
But with wing Josh Shipp out because of a hip injury, Bozeman glided smoothly into that position and averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists.