MHERST -- The timetable for Etienne Brower's return to the court for University of Massachusetts men's basketball team has been pushed back as the Minutemen get set to start their 2006-07 season in nine days.
Coach Travis Ford once hoped that the junior swingman would be back for the season opener against Dartmouth Nov. 11, although it is now likely that Brower will miss that game. Ford is targeting the three-game Colonial Classic in Pittsburgh beginning Nov. 17 for Brower's return.
''Etienne is going to be out for a while,'' Ford said. ''He won't play in the first game. My goal is get him ready for the Pittsburgh tournament, but I'm not going to push him at all. I didn't think its going to affect him long term. It's an injury that needs time.''
Rashaun Freeman, who sat out last Saturday's scrimmage, returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to play in this Saturday's 7 p.m. exhibition game against Bridgeport. Senior Stephane Lasme and junior Dante Milligan have also missed time with undisclosed injuries.
''We need tough practices because we need to get tougher, but it's tough to do that when you've got everybody hurt,'' Ford said. ''We've been very banged up. All our post players - it's hard to practice when you don't have any post players. It's a concern. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was.''
Because of the injuries, junior Gary Forbes has practiced playing inside as well.
WALK-ON ADDED - The Minutemen added one walk-on to the roster, freshman guard Michael Sinn. The resident of Jericho, N.Y., is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound guard who was named second-team All-Long Island after averaging 15 points and 10 assists as a senior. He will wear No. 4.
TELEVISION - The UMass games at Louisville (Dec. 13) and Kentucky (Dec. 22) will now both be televised locally on NESN.
The Minutemen are currently scheduled to be on television six times, but that number is expected to increase. The school is trying to get the Nov. 18 game at Pittsburgh, which will air on FoxSports Pittsburgh, added to the FoxSports New England lineup.
Up to six more games could be added through College Sports TV's syndication package which would air locally on a channel to be determined.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.