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January 27, 2010

Men’s Basketball’s Hosts Montana State; Platt Suffers Hand Injury

NAU Game Notes vs. Montana State (PDF)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Junior guard Eric Platt suffered a broken right hand in practice Monday and will be out up to eight weeks. He had surgery on Wednesday at Flagstaff Medical Center.

“You never expect things like this,” said Head Coach Mike Adras. “I tell the guys at the beginning of every year. You never know when it will be taken away from you. You hope it doesn’t happen to any body.”

Platt, who missed time earlier with shin splints, saw action in 11 games off the bench, averaging 11.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He shot 42 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc, making 25 three-pointers on the season (2.3 per game average). The native of Casper, Wyo., notched double figures in six games and scored a career-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting including seven three-pointers off the bench in 20 minutes of action against Southwestern in the season opener.

“I feel like I could of added more to the team,” said Platt. “I never played one game (this season) where I felt 100 percent healthy. That is what gets me the most.”

Platt is a transfer from Wyoming who sat out the 2008-09 season due NCAA transfer rules. He played two seasons at the University of Wyoming where he saw action in 29 games with two starts as a sophomore and averaged 3.5 points. He has one additional season of eligibility in 2010-11.

“Guys have to step up,” said Adras. “I think they are smart enough to understand what they have to do. We have played a number of games without him this season. We would like to have him. It has just been that kind of a season.”

NAU played with its full roster healthy for the first time on Sunday against Sacramento State. DeAngelo Jones returned from a groin injury against the Hornets and will look to help fill the void left with Platt’s injury.

The Lumberjacks will take the court without Platt on Thursday against Montana State. The Bobcats stand in second place in the Big Sky Conference standings at 6-2 with a victory over NAU (10-9, 4-4 BSC) earlier in the season in Bozeman.

The two teams met up during the first week of conference place that took place in early December. The Lumberjacks have played 11 games since the first encounter with the Montana schools and are riding a three-game winning streak entering the game on Thursday.

“The next two weeks are going to tell a lot about where we go from here,” said Adras.

NAU has shot better than 50 percent in three consecutive games, improving to 35th in Division I at 47.5 percent and second overall in the Big Sky. NAU ranked 13th in the NCAA in field goal percentage at a Big Sky best 48.1 percent. NAU has ranked among the Top 15 teams in the nation in each of the last three seasons, one of four schools in the country to accomplish the feat (Florida, Kansas, North Carolina) and joins Florida as the only two schools in the nation to rank among the Top 15 in each of the last four seasons.