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Thu., Jan. 20, 2011, 6:16 p.m.

WSU’s Aden out with knee


So just when we thought the drama was in the past, something pops up. Read on.


• Faisal Aden has been practicing sporadically for the past few weeks, nursing a sore right Achilles' tendon. He practiced hard Tuesday, rode the bike and watched much of Wednesday's workout, and now is sitting under the basket watching warmups in sweats with assistant coach Curtis Allen and redshirt Mike Ladd. I'm trying to find out if it is the leg acting up, which I would guess, or something else. ... Found out it is his left knee, which was a problem earlier this year but seemed to have gone away. Must have flared up yesterday. ... That would about make the teams even in the sitting out department. The Sun Devils are without starter Carrick Felix, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who has been on fire as of late. Felix, one of three Devils out either via illness (he and reserve Brandon Dunson) or a death in the family (reserve Chance Creekmur), is averaging 5.8 points a game overall but 13.6 in the last five. In that span he's second on the team in minutes, assists and led with six steals. ... With Aden out, my guess is his minutes are divided between Reggie Moore (as you know, officially reinstated from suspension yesterday), Marcus Capers and freshman Patrick Simon. Simon played the 3 some in the Bay Area, which helped on the offensive end. With the 6-8 Simon on the floor, however, the Cougars are basically forced to play zone, as it's tough for the 215-pounder to guard the quick 3s in this conference. ... So what happens tonight? I expect the Cougars to get good shots in the first half against ASU's matchup, because the game plan is solid. If they are shooting well, they have a shot to open a big lead. Mainly because the Sun Devils haven't been a dynamic offensive team as of late and losing Felix will hurt. But Herb Sendek is an excellent game coach, so ASU will adjust at halftime and the second half could be a battle of wills. The home crowd and all that it means – energy, intimidation, calls – may have a huge effect. ... Having written all that, what do you bet this game is a blowout for someone? If it for ASU, then the Cougars' Pac-10 title hopes are done. Losing tonight would put a pin in that balloon and really bleed their NCAA hopes. ... Have you ever seen the student section hold up a picture of a student manager and chant his name? It happened prior to the game, with a small group holding up a large cut out of Neil Stover. Made many of the players laugh and Stover turn a little red. Or is it crimson? ...


• That's all I've got for now. We'll be back at halftime with a post and will be on Twitter throughout the game. Until then ...

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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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