ALBANY — There’s one more game to go in its injury-plagued non-conference season, which means there’s one more fresh injury for the UAlbany men’s basketball program to navigate around.
This one belongs to redshirt sophomore Cameron Healy, who leads the Great Danes in scoring and minutes played. UAlbany head coach Will Brown said Friday that Healy is dealing with a “hip situation” stemming from a hard fall he took in the aftermath of committing a last-minute foul in UAlbany’s loss Sunday at Monmouth, and that the star guard “went and got his hips realigned” Friday.
“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Brown said of Healy’s availability for Monday’s game at Columbia, the Great Danes’ final contest of 2019.
After redshirting his true freshman season with UAlbany, Healy has played in each possible game for the Great Danes the last two seasons. In 32.5 minutes per game this season, Healy is averaging 16.1 points for a team that only has one other player averaging double-digit scoring in senior Ahmad Clark at 14.5 points.
Brown said Healy — who wasn’t made available to reporters at Friday’s practice — hadn’t participated in any of UAlbany’s practices this week. Brown said he was “not sure” if Healy will practice Saturday, but the coach said that Healy would need to practice at some point this weekend in order to play Monday at Columbia, a 3-9 squad that plays Marist two days before it takes on the 6-8 Great Danes.
“The biggest thing is to make sure that we have [Healy] healthy for January 4th,” said Brown, referencing UAlbany’s America East Conference opener against Binghamton. “But, in a perfect world, we’ll get him back for the Columbia game.”
This non-conference season, though, hasn’t taken place in a “perfect world” for the Great Danes. The team has dealt with one injury after another, and has seemed to lose a player or two each time it gains one back. Against Monmouth, UAlbany saw redshirt junior Jojo Anderson (knee) make his season debut, but the Great Danes played that game without Adam Lulka (ankle) and ended it with Healy hurting.
Lulka missed seven games with a sprained ankle prior to returning Dec. 10 at Boston College, but the 6-foot-8 forward still hasn’t fully recovered from the injury. He played 24 minutes against Boston College, 21 against Niagara and then 10 against St. John’s before sitting out against Monmouth. Brown said it’s “highly unlikely” Lulka plays at Columbia, and the coach didn’t offer up any further information regarding when the player could return.
“We’ve just got to move forward,” Brown said.
If Healy doesn’t play at Columbia, Brown said what’s key for the Great Danes is to execute at a high level. The return of Anderson provides UAlbany with an additional playmaker and ball-handler, but Anderson is still working back to full strength — “He doesn’t have that burst right now,” Brown said — so it’s possible Clark will have to shoulder even more of the Great Danes’ offensive burden than usual.
“For us, we really have to do a good job on the offensive end,” Brown said. “We have not shot the ball well with [Healy] in the lineup [and] he’s the best shooter in our program, so, for us, it’s about — if he does not play — how do we manufacture offense? I think that’s the biggest thing.”