FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a brief transcript of Houston Nutt’s comments during an informal meeting with media members on Tuesday.
“Yesterday Matt [Jones’] mom and dad came up with Matt and we had Dr. Park and Dean Weber to look at his shoulder. He’s had that throwing shoulder since two-a-days. Right now we feel like it’s manageable and not going to require surgery. The knee problem that he had was the top of the fibula. That also doesn’t require surgery. Basically it needs rest and he’s not going to play basketball this year. Hopefully, through that, without rehab, we’ll have him back to full speed next year. I’ve brought Dean Weber in here if anyone wants to get technical on the terms and everything.”
“I think we should clarify and emphasize that as far as his leg goes, it’s not a knee injury. It’s the head of the fibula, the top of the ankle bone. The bottom of the fibula is the ankle bone that you’re aware of. The head of that has been sprained. It will heal without surgery. It is a common problem and it will get well.
“As far as his shoulder goes, Matt is typical of a lot of throwers, quarterbacks, baseball players and anybody who throws a lot. It’s a throwers shoulder. It becomes loose with time. The shoulder joint, even on the other arm, is somewhat loose. This is a congenital thing – it’s not uncommon. He happens to be a quarterback that throws a lot and over the years it has become looser. It is a manageable problem just like it is with quarterbacks all across the country.”
Is Matt’s injury why you kept giving Tarvaris Jackson a chance?
“The doctor mentioned yesterday that one of the reason’s that he didn’t need to play basketball was the constant pounding and jumping. If you go up for a rebound or a blocked shot and it gets pulled back, you’re taking a big time risk. With rehab and the therapy and keeping it manageable that is his best chance. That is exactly why you kept pushing – and you were hoping Tarvaris was going to fill in the shoes of Zak Clark and take that same role. It never did take and he was young – he was a freshman. A lot of them are too impatient to hang in there and it just didn’t happen for him.”
How does Matt feel about not playing basketball?
“Well it hurts him. He’s a competitor – that’s all he’s ever done. That’s one of the reasons we recruited him. He wants to play. I don’t even think he’s had the opportunity to talk to coach Heath yet, because he was waiting on this doctor’s appointment. He had every intention of playing basketball.
“I was going to advise him not to play this year to get better. I didn’t know about the extent of both injuries. I didn’t realize what he needed to do, as far as rehab the whole winter. Then you hear Dr. Park and Dean Weber, and it just makes sense for him to be at his best.”
How much did Matt’s injury affect how you ran the offense?
“It affected it a great deal. If you just look at it really hard, when Matt’s at his best and he’s at full tilt, we’re tough to defend because he runs full form. You take a guy who’s not full speed, which is his best asset, and it limits you. That’s what he does best.”
“Tony Bua is going to have shoulder surgery and Tony Ugoh is going to have knee surgery for cartilage.”
On the severity of Bua’s shoulder surgery:
“It’s about as major as Cedric Cobbs’ was a couple of years ago or when Fred Talley had his surgery.
On Ken Hamlin:
“I’ve talked to him one time since the break. Right now he’s just listening. I think he’s went through Derrick Gragg to find out exactly what he can do to see where he would go if he decides to enter the draft. Derrick is checking on the rules for an underclassman to see where they score or how they evaluate him for the draft.”
On the season:
“I’m still evaluating. We won nine games and won a Western Division title. It doesn’t feel good because of the last ballgame. We were on that six-week run and everybody was laying out every ounce of energy we had. We felt really good about our team and about everything. Everybody did. That’s why to me the first priority right now is recruiting. Then we’ll get into the evaluation of everything else.
“I’ll tell you that nine games is pretty good – not that we’re satisfied with that because you want to end the right way. I look back at the Ole Miss week and what these kids have done and it could have gone the other way. It could have gone the other way in a big way. We could be sitting here 4-8.”