Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Huge Blow For Rebels

Combining the loss of Trevor Gaskins and Eniel Polynice is a huge blow for the Rebel basketball team. Pre-season this was looking like it could be a pretty good season for the Rebs. But the loss of two of the top players will truly hurt the Rebels this year. It is going to be hard to recover.

(UMAA)OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss men’s basketball team lost a key member of its backcourt for the second time in less than two weeks when the team learned Tuesday that starting junior guard Eniel Polynice will miss the remainder of the season following knee surgery.

Polynice had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday. The procedure was a follow-up to an initial injury at the end of last season, when he missed the Rebels’ first-round NIT game against UC Santa Barbara.

“The surgery consisted of an articular cartilage transplant, removal of loose fragments and addressing a torn lateral meniscus,” said surgeon William Geissler of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “He will be in rehabilitation and out of play for the next four to six months.”

In his third season as a member of the Rebels, Polynice was expected to be one of the primary pieces of a Rebel backcourt touted by at least one publication (Blue Ribbon Yearbook) as the best in the Southeastern Conference. The Sarasota, Fla., native averaged 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 34 games last year, including 31 starts. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy has routinely called Polynice the team’s best perimeter defender, as well.

“Anytime a team loses its most experienced player, there will obviously be adjustments that have to be made,” said Kennedy. “I feel bad for EP because I know how hard he worked in preparing for his junior year. The season-ending surgery was necessary to ensure his future as an athlete. We will apply for a medical redshirt, which we feel confident he will get. His loss creates a great opportunity for our young players.”

The news comes just 11 days after the team found out that sophomore guard Trevor Gaskins, an SEC All-Freshman pick a year ago, would be lost for the year after suffering an ACL tear in his left knee.

Five scholarship guards remain on the Rebels’ roster, including Preseason All-SEC first team point guard Chris Warren, junior David Huertas, sophomore Zach Graham and freshmen Will Bogan and Terrico White.

The Rebels will take their thinned-out roster into a non-league clash with South Alabama tonight at 7 p.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum.