Aug. 7, 2006
Houston - University of Houston senior point guard Lanny Smith underwent successful surgery to repair a displaced fracture in the big toe on his left foot on Wednesday August 2. Smith will be in a non-weight bearing cast for six weeks and in a walking boot for another six weeks.
"It will be the first week of November before we know if he can play," Houston head coach Tom Penders said. "I feel very badly for Lanny because he has worked very hard this summer. But, we are not going to rush him back and risk further injury to his foot."
This marks the second straight season that Smith has suffered an injury. Last year, he averaged 12.1 points and 5.4 assists in 30 games despite playing the season with a persistent ankle injury. So if the toe takes longer than three months to heal, he could decide to sit out the entire season.
But, Penders is confident that he has five other players on this year's roster who can help ease the loss if his senior point guard is forced to sit out the season.
"If there is an area of strength on this year's team, it is in the backcourt," Penders said. "Before Lanny injured his ankle, we recruited some players who can play point guard in case he decided to put his name into the NBA Draft. There is no need for him to make a quick decision. I told Lanny to sit back and see how his foot heals and progresses."
Those players include Robert McKiver, Charlie Jones and Marcus Malone. Penders could also turn to Oliver Lafayette to play the point some and junior college All-American Robert Lee is another backcourt player for the Cougars.
McKiver was a backup point guard at Providence during his freshman year before transferring to San Jacinto College last season. There, he earned First-Team, All-Region XIV honors and Region XIV Tournament MVP after leading the Ravens to the NJCAA National Tournament. Malone was a starting point guard at Lee College in Baytown, Texas last season after playing his freshman season at DePaul. Jones was a freshman starting point guard at Blinn College last season after sitting out the 2004-05 season as a redshirt at Colorado State.
Lafayette was Houston's starting guard along with Smith and led the Cougars in scoring with 15.7 points per game. He also earned Second-Team, All-Conference USA honors and helped Houston reach the second round of the 2006 NIT.