Before Dave Rice could even reflect on his team’s one-point win over California, the UNLV head coach was preparing for the worst.
Rebels star forward Mike Moser dislocated his right elbow early in the first half of Sunday’s gripping game, which featured more brilliance from super-frosh Anthony Bennett on top of a game-winning put-back by an unlikely suspect. As you’d expect, the condition of Moser’s right elbow, not Bennett’s virtuoso performance or Quintrell Thomas’ improbable clincher, has the second-year coach’s undivided attention.
Rice told CBSSports.com there’s a chance his team’s leading rebounder may not be healthy enough to return to the floor again this season. Moser will visit a specialist to determine the extent of the injury before the UNLV staff can hash out a tentative timetable for his recovery.
In a best-case scenario, Moser could return to the floor sometime within the next four to six weeks. Typical recovery from an elbow dislocation requires two to three weeks of isolated rest before an athlete can begin a rehab program. Two to three more weeks of therapy are needed to strengthen the elbow so that it can withstand the normal rigors of basketball.
The worst-case scenario would end Moser’s junior season—and realistically his UNLV career—after just eight games.
Moser dislocated his elbow scrambling after a loose ball just five minutes into Sunday’s contest. The training staff helped Moser off the floor and ushered him into the locker room, and the junior forward later returned to the sideline with a sling propping his right arm.
Moser missed UNLV’s previous game with a hip injury. Through six games heading into the night, the 6-foot-8 forward was averaging 12.3 points per game and a team-best 9.2 rebounds.