Pitino decides not to play Anderson
Mar. 19, 1997
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Unwilling to jeopardize Derek Anderson's professional career, Kentucky coach Rick Pitino said the senior star will not play in the Wildcats' remaining NCAA tournament games.
``Derek has proven his point,'' Pitino said Tuesday night in a statement from San Jose, Calif., where the defending national champion Wildcats will play St. Joseph's on Thursday night in a West Regional semifinal.
``He's practiced three times with us and it is obvious that he's ready to play. We'll continue to get him ready for the NBA camp in Phoenix April 4, but we will not risk his pro career by playing him in the NCAA tournament.''
Anderson, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee less than two months ago, was examined Tuesday by Dr. Art Ting, a sports medicine specialist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation who serves as the team physician for the San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks and Oakland Raiders.
While Ting supported Kentucky team physician David Caborn's opinion that Anderson was ready to return, Pitino is not taking any chances.
Caborn, who performed the surgery Jan. 22, said Tuesday that Anderson has made a remarkable recovery, that all medical assessments of his knee are positive, and that he's been practicing this week without problems.
``If I felt ... he had a greater potential to re-injure the knee now than he would in six or eight months, I wouldn't be letting him play,'' Caborn said. ``There is no scientific evidence to say this ligament in his knee will be any stronger at four or five months (after surgery) than it is today.''
When he was injured, Anderson was leading the Southeastern Conference in scoring (18.6), was third in steals (2.0) and was fourth in both field-goal percentage (49.1) and 3-point percentage (40.4).