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Feb. 29, 2004

South Carolina senior Rolando Howell fractured his left wrist (the distal radius) during the second half of the Georgia game on Saturday night (the 18 minute mark) and will be forced to miss the remainder of the basketball season. His left hand was placed in a soft castSaturday night and his condition will be re-evaluated later in the week. It is expected that he will be out 6-8 weeks.

Howell, who was averaging 22.8 minutes this year with 9.0 ppg and 5.4 rebounds, finishes his career with 970 points and 592 rebounds. During his career he averaged 9.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg.

Comments from Rolando Howell “It’s a tough experience knowing I won’t play basketball here again,” said Howell, a Columbia, S.C. native and Lower Richland HS graduate. “Things happen for a reason and there isn’t anything I can do about it. When it happened last night I did think something was wrong but I didn’t know it would be this bad.”

Will this motivate the team: “I truly hope so. When I went out we had guys step up last night and we have to give Mike Boynton credit for the leadership.”

How do you want to be remembered: “I just want people to see me for who I am. I am really nice guy, easy going guy, trying to be everyone’s friend first and then a basketball player.”

On how he was playing before the injury: “I was feeling more comfortable. It’s tough but it’s something I will have to deal with. I know I will play basketball again. The fans have been supportive this year, and every year I’ve been here and you have to give them credit for that. What an honor it was to wear the uniform.”

Did you get what you wanted out of your career?: “My biggest goal coming to school was to get my degree and I am on track to do that. I am happy about that. It’s hard to move it right now, the injured hand, but it’s a good thing I have family and friends around that can help me. My teammates have come a long way and they will handle it well. John Chappell – I heard he had a good game and that’s something you can take pride in because you never know when it will be your last chance.”

What can this team do this year: “There are no limits or expectations on this year for the team. It’s been a successful year so far. I will be more into it now than when I was practicing, I can tell the guys different things. I will do what I can do to help this team win.”

Has this been your toughest year: “It’s been my toughest year. Life is full of challenges and I think I’ve handled all the challenges so far. Only the man upstairs knows what he has in store for you”

Senior Captain Mike Boynton, Jr.’s comments: “It’s another obstacle for us,” said Boynton. “People don’t expect us to come back from this but this team has a lot of guts and they are tough. You could see it last night when Ro went out. A guy like John Chappell came in and our guys stepped up and played well. It’s a good thing that we showed we can handle an adverse situation. It is ironic that we played so many games without him earlier in the year. It’s unfortunate – but having that experience of playing without him will help us. Personally, it hurts because I have high expectations for Rolando. He’s like a little brother to me and it’s unfortunate. But I know what type of person he is and we know he will play again. It’s a barrier, a fork in the road, he has been a big part of things the last few weeks but we have to find a way to get it done. We could pack up the tents and say it’s over but I don’t think any guys on this team are going to do that right now. But now we have to have guys that will pick up the slack. We can’t say we need Rolando Howell cause we don’t have him but everyone will have to do what they can do to get it done. We will just approach each game as it comes. It’s something we will have to look at. (on Ro being finished): It’s not something that I have let set in because Ro and I are so close but I will find a way to get the guys back on track.”

USC Head Coach Dave Odom’s comments: “Emotionally – it breaks my heart for our team, our fans, everyone involved,” said Odom. “You look at it and you say there are still some good things out there for our team for as bad as you feel at the time and for those most effected by it I was still very pleased that I have had a chance to coach him. He has been through a lot but he is who he is and when he was at highest lowest depth we still loved him and we still do. He is a great kid and will always be a member of the Gamecock family. You hate to see a career end that quickly without notice. I am broken-hearted that he won’t have a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. Why us, why Ro? Maybe because we are the only ones that can handle it. Maybe he chose us because we can handle it and I think we can handle it. While I don’t’ feel good about the injury, I do feel good about the challenge. I had a long conversation with Rolando this afternoon and I always try to teach a lesson. But I don’t know if I have ever had a chance to teach more than today. Rolando is in his final semester and has a real chance to graduate. He won’t play anymore but in those 8 weeks when his cast comes off, he will pretty much be able to go say I am a graduate. I hope every young kid in South Carolina can see Ro and his career and see that he can graduate and go on to play professional basketball. He has a great opportunity and I know he will take advantage of it.”

What kind of team will you have now? “We are a different team now. It’s not like we haven’t played without him before but it’s not arguable that the competition is greater. I don’t know if the style will go back. It’s easier to bring players up to fill that void. We have some options and we have experience. We have to use John Chappell and Brandon Wallace more. What determines who we use will be determined by the game. This is coaching and this is what it’s all about. We have more questions than we have answers right now but by Wednesday we can fix that.”