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UCLA BASKETBALL FYI

UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt has X-ray of right elbow

The sophomore forward has been bothered by soreness in the elbow since taking a fall during the Dec. 2 game against Kansas. His shooting and scoring average have suffered in the 11 games since then.

January 18, 2011|By Ben Bolch

Tyler Honeycutt's dramatic dip in production over his last 11 games might be attributable to more than an extended shooting slump.

The UCLA sophomore forward underwent an X-ray on his right elbow Tuesday and acknowledged that the area was still bothering him 1½ months after he fell while making a layup in the first half against Kansas on Dec. 2.

"Some weeks it will really hurt a lot," said Honeycutt, who is taking medication to manage the pain. "Lately, when I'm going to shoot not warmed up, I can barely get the ball to the rim."

Honeycutt scored a career-high 33 points against the Jayhawks, bringing his scoring average to 17.7 points on 54.8% shooting. In the 11 games since then, he has averaged 10.9 points on 36.7% shooting.

Honeycutt said he had experienced a sharp pain in the elbow whenever he squeezed or pushed with his right hand. But he said his right shoulder, which he injured against Montana State on Dec. 21, was feeling better.

Honeycutt is expected to be in the starting lineup as usual when UCLA (11-6 overall, 3-2 Pacific 10 Conference) plays host to California (9-8, 2-3) on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Seeking a home

UCLA still might play home games at the Forum next season under one scenario in which renovations of the 44-year-old venue do not start until the spring of 2012, a school spokesman said.

Athletic Director Dan Guerrero recently met with representatives of Madison Square Garden, which is in the final stages of purchasing the Forum, and is expected to hear more about refurbishment plans for the Manchester Boulevard landmark in a few weeks.

UCLA may also play a few games at Staples Center and the Sports Arena, which features amenities such as a video scoreboard that the Forum lacks. The Bruins need a home venue for the 2011-12 season because Pauley Pavilion will be undergoing renovations.

Close quarters

UCLA and USC typically stay at the same hotel at the same time only once every season, when the teams make the trip to Oregon and stay in Eugene.

It can lead to some interesting exchanges like the one between Bruins freshman center Joshua Smith and Trojans Coach Kevin O'Neill in a hallway Friday night. Smith said O'Neill teased the big man about Smith's comments regarding USC's celebration in the final minute of the Trojans' 63-52 victory over the Bruins on Jan. 9, which Smith had called "a slap in the face."

"He was joking around, saying, 'Hey, I'll tell my guys not to celebrate next time,'" Smith said. "He's a cool guy."

Going small?

UCLA Coach Ben Howland was noncommittal when asked whether he would continue to use the three-guard lineup that helped his team spread the floor and attack Oregon's zone defense during the Bruins' 67-59 victory Saturday.

One drawback to the lineup that features Lazeric Jones, Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee as the guards, Honeycutt as the power forward and Smith as the center is that Honeycutt, at 6 feet 8 and 188 pounds, is often considerably smaller than his counterpart and could be a liability on the defensive end.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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