Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 | 7 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports editor Ray Brewer and sports writers Case Keefer and Taylor Bern discuss the Rebels' road win at Wyoming and what it could mean for their chances going to Reno this weekend, and Keefer recaps Ronda Rousey's victory at UFC 157.
- How does Rebels’ Bennett stack up against nation’s elite freshmen?
- UNLV Extras: Travel schedule helps Rebels avoid delays on the road
- Rebels earn pleasant flight home with easy road victory at Wyoming
- Rebels’ Bennett exits game at Wyoming early with left shoulder injury
- All UNLV men's basketball coverage
Anthony Bennett’s current diagnosis on his left shoulder injury provides a possible answer that comes with even more uncertainty.
“Right now we’re treating him as having brachial neuritis, which is exactly inflammation of the nerve group coming off your neck to the shoulder,” said UNLV team trainer Dave Tomchek.
It’s a rare condition, according to the Johns Hopkins online health library. And Tomchek didn’t say that’s exactly what Bennett has, just that after an MRI and ultrasound they are treating Bennett like that may be what’s afflicting him.
At Wednesday’s practice Bennett did some shooting drills under Tomchek’s supervision and didn’t seem to have a problem with it. UNLV coach Dave Rice said Bennett would try to practice Thursday and called him probable for Saturday’s afternoon game at UNR. The Rebels play the Wolf Pack at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
Brachial neuritis generally goes away on its own, though the timetable varies from a couple of weeks to more than a year, said Tomchek, who added he prefers not to give the players painkillers so Bennett isn't on any. The Rebels still aren’t positive that’s what they’re dealing with, but the tests did rule out some possibly more serious diagnoses.
“We’ve determined there’s no structural damage in the shoulder; we’re taking care of the nerve and it’s going to be a day-to-day situation,” Tomchek said. “He’ll get treatment and proceed with activity as pain allows him. There’s no timetable as to when this is going to be completely gone.”
If Bennett can’t play Saturday, junior forward Mike Moser would take his place in the starting lineup. Playing in relief of Bennett in last Saturday’s victory at Wyoming, Moser had 11 points, seven rebounds and four turnovers in 23 minutes. Before that game Bennett had told Rice he thought he slept on his shoulder wrong and then played four minutes before sitting the rest of the way. Whether he practices much or not in the next two days, it’s possible Bennett would try to play through it.
“He believes that if he keeps going in a game and gets his adrenaline flowing then there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be able to play,” Tomchek said.