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Arizona basketball: Wildcats, ‘banged up’ Kadeem Allen have whole week to rest, prepare for ASU

Arizona does not play ASU until Saturday, giving the Wildcats more time between games than usual

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It is safe to say Kadeem Allen’s last-second heave against the UCLA Bruins didn’t feel right coming out of his hand.

For one, the shot was well off the mark as it failed to draw any iron.

Secondly, Allen had a bandage on his right pinkie finger.

“That bandage bothers him,” head coach Sean Miller said Monday. “He’s not comfortable. It’s on his shooting hand. You have to think every time that he dribbles, passes, catches, it’s a factor.”

Allen dislocated his right pinkie in practice before Arizona traveled to Washington two weeks ago, and the injury forced him to miss both games on the road trip.

It healed enough to where he suited up against the L.A. schools a week later, but he had to play with that intruding bandage on his stitched-up finger.

“He has stitches, so because we haven’t given him a lot of time to heal, those stitches can open up, and I think he had more stitches added just to make sure it’s closed and you guard against infection,” Miller said.

The good news is Miller said Allen may have the stitches removed before Saturday’s game versus ASU.

“He’s on the right track,” Miller said. “He’s healing. He’s in a lot less pain. He has more movement. He has stitches every two days, three, four days and eventually we hope he can take those out. We might leave (for ASU) on Saturday and he might not have any stitches in. So far he’s playing with stitches in his finger so think about how that feels.”

Since Arizona does not play ASU until Saturday, Allen — and the rest of the team — has more time than usual to recover this week.

“Kadeem is beat up with his finger and really did the best he could this past week but I think that as he gets another week under his belt, I’d like to think it’ll be healed up that much more in terms of his ability to shoot and feel comfortable out there,” Miller said.

The Wildcats will take an extra day off and hold shorter practices this week.

“We have to be smart right now because we’re late in the game,” Miller said. “We’re entering March and we have 30 games here under our belt.

“I think it’s about practicing the right way — hard, but not overdoing it. Rest, having freshness, not just physically, but also you can wear your own team down by showing them too much film. In your quest to be good at everything you kind of take it away because we’ve been at this a lot.

“I think we’ll balance this week to be as fresh as we can and ready and, at the same time, obviously it’s an important week in practice.”


Ristic not affected by ankle sprain

Like Allen, Arizona center Dusan Ristic has been dealing with an injury of his own in the last two weeks.

The 7-footer suffered a grade 1 ankle sprain in the first half against Washington State on Feb. 16, which knocked him out for the second half of the game.

He then sat out against Washington two days later.

However, the 7-footer returned against USC and UCLA and said his ankle was not hindering his mobility.

“A little sore, but it’s pretty good,” Ristic said Monday.

Still, having an extra day off this week can’t hurt.

“I think it’s a good thing that we have a whole week to prepare for the ASU game,” he said. “ASU is playing probably the basketball of the season.”

Ristic played 41 minutes against the L.A. schools, averaging 6.5 points and three rebounds as the Wildcats split the homestand.

Ristic came off the bench for the first time this season against USC, but returned to the starting lineup against UCLA.

Miller said Arizona may have to consider starting a smaller lineup Saturday to combat ASU’s four-guard lineup.

“We have to prepare for that, you almost have to because they’ve been playing that lineup more now than maybe the first time we played them,” he said. “But at the same time, we have to do what’s best for our team.”


Allen teaches Ristic about hip-hop culture

Once upon a time — oh, about three years ago — Allen and Ristic were roommates in their first years at UA.

When asked what he learned about Allen, Ristic said “some rap songs.”

“My freshman year I was really familiar with hip-hop culture,” said Ristic. “He probably introduced me to it.”

What did Allen listen to?

“50 Cent,” Ristic said.


You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire