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November 22, 2011

Franklin to wear a protective mask

Jamaal Franklin already jumps like a superhero. Now he might look like one as well.

San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said on Tuesday morning Franklin broke his nose 20 minutes into practice on Monday, yet is expected to play with a protective mask on Wednesday against Arizona.

"He went out today and got form-fitted for a mask," Fisher said. "And we hope it will be FedExed to us tomorrow in Tucson."

Fisher said the Aztecs have suddenly taken a tremendous amount of pride in drawing charges, especially after they racked up five against Long Beach State on Saturday. That carried over into Monday's practice, Fisher said, when Franklin stepped up to take a charge in defensive drills and caught an elbow to the nose.

Initially, SDSU thought Franklin would be fine, but when he kept planting ice on the nose during timeouts of Monday's practice, Fisher became worried.

"Jamaal, he's tough, which is why initially I thought it's not broken," Fisher said. "He didn't miss one second of practice yesterday, and he broke his nose 20 minutes into practice. But he'll play."

Franklin has been arguably the Aztecs' best player this season, averaging 18 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

The star sophomore forward is not the only SDSU player battling an injury, however. Fisher was "worried" that guard Chase Tapley might have something significantly wrong with his banged-up left hand. But Fisher said X-rays came back negative, and while he didn't practice on Monday, "He was great today."

Starting point guard Xavier Thames also didn't practice on Monday and was limited during Tuesday's practice with a bad back. Fisher said it's a chronic injury, and even though he's been sore all week, "He would have played if we had a game on Monday."

Other sore players include James Rahon (broken foot) and Tim Shelton (knees), but Fisher expects everybody to be ready when SDSU tips off its game with the Wildcats at 5:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday.

"You form excuses if you start talking about injuries," Fisher said. "There's a difference between being injured and being hurt. We've got some nagging injuries, but we ain't hurt. We'll play and they'll all play."


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