Jan. 6, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University junior guard Kyle Bailey will miss the remainder of the 2002-2003 men's basketball season and will be applying for a medical hardship waiver due to a bulging disc in his lower back and an injury to his foot, athletic department officials announced today.
Bailey, an all-West Coast Conference selection last year as a sophomore, encountered a bulging disc between the L4 and L5 vertebrae during preseason drills. He also suffered a stress reaction in his left foot in the Dec. 7 game against Washington and missed the next five contests. He will apply for a medical hardship waiver from the WCC following the season and hopes to have two seasons of eligibility remaining. Neither injury is expected to require surgery, only rest and rehabilitation.
"In the short term, this is really disappointing," said Bailey. "But, I have to look past that. Hopefully, I can sit out this season and get completely healthy then return to the team next year with two full seasons of eligibility left. I am taking as positive of an approach as I can to this situation and I am going to do what is best for the long term. I can't let this setback get me down."
A Fairbanks, Alaska native, Bailey played six games during the non-conference portion of Santa Clara's schedule and averaged 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. In his most recent action, Bailey played 24 minutes off the bench against Wright State and scored six points with five rebounds and five assists.
"I think sitting out this season is the right thing for our program and, most importantly, the right thing for Kyle," said Head Coach Dick Davey. "We've tried to rest him as much as possible in order for both his back and foot to get better. But, every time he stepped on the court he played with pain and neither injury was responding like they should have. He is an all-league player so we would certainly like to have him on the court at all times. With these types of injuries, though, having him out there just isn't helping him get better."
Bailey owns a career scoring average of 11.2 points per game and currently sits in seventh on the school list for three-point field goals and fifth in attempts. He earned all-WCC honors last season as a sophomore and entered this season as one of the league's top players. A team-co-captain, Bailey and Bakari Altheimer entered the season as the only two players on the Santa Clara roster with experience at the point guard position.
Altheimer, who has missed all 13 of the Broncos' non-conference games due to a stress fracture in his right foot, is expected to return Saturday in Santa Clara's conference opener at San Diego. The 5'-9" sophomore scored 17 points with seven rebounds in Santa Clara's exhibition contest against the Olympic Club before suffering the injury prior to the season-opening win at Pacific.