Aggies Lose Roland in Horrific Injury

The Aggies top defender had surgery to have a pin put in his leg

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Texas A&M's Derrick Roland is treated after a leg injury during a game at No. 22 Washington Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009, in Seattle, leaving the 19th-ranked Aggies without one of the leading defenders in the Big 12 Conference. The three-year letterman and the team's second-leading scorer crashed hard to the floor after leaping under the basket early in the second half.

    A hospital spokeswoman says Texas A&M senior Derrick Roland is in satisfactory condition and might go home Thursday after surgery to stabilize two broken bones in his leg.

    Susan Gregg-Hanson of Harborview Medical Center said Wednesday that Roland was sedated and has had many visitors since the sound of two bones snapping in his right leg echoed throughout the arena during a game between the Aggies and Washington Huskies.

    Gregg-Hanson said, "There's a pretty strong chance he's going to go home tomorrow. That's obviously the goal, to get him home."

    Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said Roland broke his tibia and fibula in the Aggies' loss Tuesday night. It appeared the leg was bent at nearly a 90-degree angle after the injury.

     

     

    WARNING: VIDEO IS GRAPHIC

    Team spokesman Colin Killian wrote in a text message to The Associated Press before dawn Wednesday: "Surgery went well, put pin in leg. Aunt on way from Dallas."

    Killian wrote that Turgeon, who was at Harborview Medical Center, planned to stay in Seattle and be with his team's leader. So did athletic assistant Dustin Clark and fellow senior Donald Sloan, who cried on the court and buried his head inside his jersey as doctors rushed to attend to his childhood friend from Dallas.

    Killian said Roland's aunt was scheduled to arrive later Wednesday, and Turgeon and Clark will likely return to Texas when she arrives. Sloan plans to stay with Roland until he is released, which might not happen until after Christmas.

    "Long recovery ahead," Killian wrote in his text message.

    Early in the second half, Roland, one of the Big 12's best defenders and the Aggies' second-leading scorer, went up for a layin and came down hard under the basket in a routine play.

    Washington's Quincy Pondexter, one of the defenders challenging Roland's shot, said the protruding fracture was "one of the nastiest things I've ever seen." The sound of the leg breaking was so loud Pondexter thought it was Roland's back hitting the court.

    Many fans on that side of the stands gasped and turned away. Texas A&M players gathered near the bench with arms around one another during a 10-minute delay.

    Four doctors and trainers from the University of Washington rushed to Roland, who remained on his back, arms over his eyes. An Aggies trainer became woozy and pale while trying to attend to Roland and had to be helped to the bench.

    Roland was eventually removed on a stretcher wearing an air cast and loaded into an ambulance, appearing awake and alert. He was holding his head up as an IV was started in his arm and the ambulance drove away from the back of the arena.

    Turgeon considered leaving the game to join his player at the hospital before staying. The scene recalled a similar injury former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann sustained on national television during a Monday night NFL game in 1985.

    Turgeon left immediately after the game and referred questions assistant Scott Spinelli.

    "We said a prayer as a team," Spinelli said. "Lots of guys were in tears. They're in tough shape right now."

    "We expect him to make a full recovery," Spinelli said, though he conceded Roland's college career is over barring a medical redshirt for another season.

    That will likely be difficult to obtain. NCAA rules stipulate a medical hardship waiver may be granted for a fifth year of eligibility before an athlete has played in 20 percent of the team's games in a season. Roland had played in all 11 of Texas A&M's 29 regular-season games.

    Washington coach Lorenzo Romar also ran on the floor to check on Roland, who scored a career-high 29 points earlier this season at Southern Methodist. Romar said his thoughts were with Roland and the Aggies.

    "It's really sad. I went out there and looked at his eyes, and they said a lot," Romar said. "Like something really, really bad just happened in his life."