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Basketball: Sanders-Frison out for ASU

Cal coach Mike Montgomery confirmed today that junior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison will not play Thursday at Arizona State because of a sore back. No word on his availability for the Bears’ game Sunday at Arizona.

Senior forward Jamal Boykin said not having Sanders-Frison is a blow. “He brings a lot of energy, he has a lot of presence for us inside,” Boykin said.  “You can never have enough frontcourt players.  We’re going to have to work hard not to get in foul trouble  — that could be an issue for us –while  at the same time staying aggressive.”

The Bears will have sixth-man Jorge Gutierrez, who missed five games with a sprained knee before returning for a brief stint Saturday against Oregon State. Montgomery said Gutierrez practiced hard on Monday and was exhausted but healthy. He said the sophomore guard’s conditioning was affected by his time away.

“He worked hard. It was  good to see him out there,” Montgomery said.

Point guard Jerome Randle told me this afternoon that his right knee remains a bit sore, but that he plans to ignore it and expects to play better Thursday against the Sun Devils.

Asked if there are any other players battling health issues, Montgomery said, “For some reason we’ve got kids seeming to get sick all the time.” But he declined to provide specifics and did not indicate anyone else will miss the ASU game.

Jeff Faraudo