The momentum built by consecutive double-digit victories took a major hit this week when University at Buffalo point guard Jarod Oldham underwent surgery for a serious wrist injury that’s expected to sideline him at least through the regular season.
The loss of Oldham, who faces further surgery Dec. 31, deprives the Bulls (4-7) of their floor general and also further reduces the team’s lean depth at guard. UB’s been a man down at the position as freshman Stan Wier (East Aurora) continues to recover from offseason procedures on his knees.
Oldham’s injury will increase the playing time of Jarryn Skeete, a 6-foot-3 freshman out of Brampton, Ont., who’s shown great promise while his minutes have steadily risen. The only other viable option at the point is senior Tony Watson, but he’s the team’s best perimeter shooter. UB’s offense suffered earlier in the season when Watson missed four games because of an ankle injury.
“Other than Jarryn, the only guy that can play the point regularly is Tony,” said UB coach Reggie Witherspoon. “It has a huge impact on us. Huge.”
Oldham was averaging 10.1 points and adding another dimension to the offense by breaking down opposing defenses with his dribble-penetration. He had 18 points and seven assists in UB’s last game, a 77-67 victory over Niagara on Dec. 8. His recovery time is pegged at 8-10 weeks pending results of the second surgery. That would take him up to the Mid-American Conference Tournament in early March.
Oldham suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly after going to block a shot in practice Saturday. A preliminary examination revealed no serious damage but, as is sometimes the case, a second showed the true extent of the injury – a dislocation with ligament damage.
For the time being, bringing Wier into the mix is not an option.
“He just hasn’t practiced yet so it’s not like we’re practicing him and thinking what to do with him,” UB coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “He just hasn’t practiced so we don’t know where he’s at with his recovery.”
The need to re-invent the backcourt comes as UB heads across the country to Seattle for a Friday night encounter with Washington State (7-4).
In games tonight, St. Bonaventure (6-3) hosts Citadel (3-5) at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center while Canisius (7-2) faces Temple (8-1) in Philadelphia.
The Bonnies are 4-0 at the RC with three double-digit victories and are coming off a resounding 87-53 drubbing of Cleveland State. Canisius thumped Longwood Monday night at the Koessler Center but steps up in class against a Temple team that remains unranked despite just one loss – to No. 1 Duke. The game is part of the Gotham Classic series that includes Syracuse, Detroit and Alcorn State.
The status of Canisius center Jordan Heath (ankle) remains up in the air. Heath was hurt against Syracuse Saturday and he is day-to-day.