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Brand's down (and out) for URI
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 2/1/2002

Barring drastic improvement before Saturday, University of Massachusetts big man Micah Brand will miss the 2 p.m. game at Rhode Island.

The 6-foot-11 junior sprained his left ankle in Tuesday's loss to Dayton and it hadn't healed enough for him to practice Thursday.

"It was badly swollen Wednesday. He couldn't move it," UMass coach Steve Lappas said today. "It was better (Thursday), but he wasn't close to being able to run on it. This has the potential to be a 10-day injury."

If it is, Brand also would miss Wednesday's game at Duquense.

Brand is UMass' leading rebounder at 5.9 per game, and the team's second leading scorer at 10.2 points per game. He played just 11 minutes and didn't score in the first half of Tuesday's game before being injured. Brand has started all except one game for UMass this year.

"It makes our offense worse," Lappas said. "But maybe Kit (Rhymer) will play better if he's the only big guy."

Lappas hasn't announced a replacement starter, but he has several options. Senior big men Eric Williams or Ronell Blizzard could start, or UMass (9-9, 3-4 Atlantic 10) could use a small lineup and start sophomore Raheim Lamb.

Rhode Island (5-13, 1-6 A-10) starts 6-8 Troy Wiley and 6-6 Lazare Adingono inside, with 6-9 Marcus Evans coming off the bench.

"They look like a team that we could get away with playing small against," Lappas said. "I want to watch their tape of their game with St. Joe's before I make a decision."

Lappas has used six different lineups this year, and unless Brand miraculously returns, Saturday will be the seventh.

Brand played in all 30 UMass games last year, but missed four games as a freshman with mononucleosis.

This is the first game a UMass player has missed due to injury this year.

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