LOS ANGELES — Losing at the buzzer to UCLA on Thursday night was pain enough for Washington. Seeing leading scorer C.J. Wilcox strapped into a walking boot afterward added to the damage.
Wilcox said he has the early signs of a stress fracture on the outside of his left foot. He started feeling pain in January, and a recent magnetic resonance imaging exam showed stress in the outer area.
Wilcox missed three games last season because of a hip injury. He was also limited in practice for much of the second half of the season.
Again, Washington is slowing him down in practice. Wilcox works with the scout team but does not do much 5-on-5 full-court play. He also says the walking boot is precautionary.
“With my hip, I let it go too long, we caught it too late,” Wilcox said. “With this one, we caught it early.”
Wilcox and the rest of the Huskies will receive an extra day off because they don’t play again until Sunday this week. They’ll need it. Wilcox will rest his foot. The team will try to get over Thursday’s loss.
“My biggest concern with my guys is not to go into a tailspin because a loss like this sometimes can put you in a situation where it takes you too long to recover,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. “It’s probably good we have some time to get over this. This is a tough loss because I thought we fought hard.”
The Huskies are one of five teams mired at 5-5 in the Pacific-12 Conference. The loss to UCLA was a significant ding from many sides. A win would have moved the Huskies into a tie with UCLA at 6-4, with a home game against the Bruins still to come. It also would have pushed Washington into the upper-tier of the conference.
Instead, Washington is three games behind conference-leader Arizona and two games behind the next set of teams with eight games to play.
Much of that is because of turnovers. Wilcox led the team with six turnovers against UCLA. Abdul Gaddy had eight assists and four turnovers, but his fourth giveaway was the basketball equivalent of a pick-six.
Washington was down 54-53 with 1 minute, 37 seconds to go. Gaddy tugged a rebound away from Shabazz Muhammad, who fell. When pushing the ball up the floor, Gaddy’s pass to the wing was intercepted by Larry Drew II and sent to Muhammad, who was still in the Bruins’ backcourt, for a dunk that put UCLA up 56-53 with 1:26 left.
While losing five of the past six games, Washington has averaged 15.8 turnovers.
“We have to be stronger with the ball,” Romar said. “That’s on me as head coach, if our team is turning the ball over too much. That’s on me.”todd.dybas@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas