Pitt's Fields faces slow recovery with foot injury

September, 30, 2008

Quick hitters for Tuesday:

• Pitt senior guard Levance Fields is still going through a slow rehab process in coming back from foot surgery. Fields suffered an infection above his foot that has slowed his recovery. The good news is that it has allowed the bone to heal since the surgery. But Fields hasn't been able to get on the court to play in individual workouts. He's still projected to be ready for the start of the season in November, but the Panthers' coaching staff isn't putting too much pressure on him practicing in two-plus weeks.

Fields broke his left foot Dec. 29, 2007 in a loss at Dayton. He missed the next 12 games. Pitt went 8-4 in his absence. Fields then had bone-graft surgery on the foot in late August.

In Fields' absence, the Panthers have been able to give much-needed minutes at the point to freshmen guards Travon Woodall and Ashton Gibbs. The Panthers need both of them to be ready to go in October, and maybe in November, in the event Fields isn't 100 percent. The Panthers' staff is also feeling confident about the progress of sophomore guard Brad Wanamaker and JC transfer Jermaine Dixon.

Pitt associate head coach Tom Herrion said there is no panic yet about Fields' slower-than-expected recovery. Instead, the emphasis is on ensuring the Panthers are deep enough at the point before the season.

• The National Association of Basketball Coaches issued another statement Monday to its membership about curbing certain behavior. Earlier this year it was to halt recruiting players prior to high school. Now the latest is to try to dissuade schools from using their individual skill instruction or the two-hour-a-week team workouts for recruiting purposes. Kentucky and Illinois are two schools that are holding events the week before the start of official practice. Both schools are using the earlier weekend (Oct. 10-11) to their advantage to marry it with more of a recruiting weekend (for Kentucky) and with a football game (for Illinois). The NABC board of directors said that "skill development events should not be open to the public." The NABC said the initial intent was for coaches to assist their players in skill development and create stronger relationships. But by "making such skill development sessions public events, they appear to be geared more for recruiting than skill development sessions."

The NABC board also expressed its concern over players getting eligible immediately when transferring from one four-year school to another. The board said more waivers are being filed and the board said it felt that the one-year-in-residence requirement is appropriate save extreme cases involving "personal, family and health related issues."

There are currently outstanding waivers for USC's Alex Stepheson (from North Carolina), Seton Hall's Keon Lawrence (Missouri) and Herb Pope (New Mexico State) and a number of the Indiana transfers including Armon Bassett to UAB and Jordan Crawford to Xavier.

• One minor correction from Monday's blog: Miami's Adrian Thomas sat out all but four games during the 2007-08 season due to a torn ACL that occurred in practice. He did sit out all but four games of the 2006-07 season due to an abdominal injury. The item inferred that he sat out all but four games last season due to the abdominal injury. Needless to say, Thomas has had a run of bad luck lately. But he's healthy and expected to make an impact for the top 15 Canes this season.



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