Basketball: Sanders-Frison has `setback’

Got your attention, didn’t I?

Actually, that was coach Mike Montgomery’s word after senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison was kneed in the right calf during practice by Robert Thurman on Thursday morning, forcing him to sit out the rest of the session.

“The feet were feeling better, but he had a setback today,” Montgomery said. “Came out, was ready to go, but he got kicked in the calf and left the court. His feet and his calf are related. It’s partially due to some tendinitis in his Achilles, and the Achilles has made his calf tight. It’s all related.”

Sanders-Frison was diagnosed several weeks ago as having plantar fasciitis in both feet.

Asked if he’s confident Sanders-Frison (9.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) will play Sunday in the Pac-10 opener at Stanford, Montgomery said, “Yeah, but we could be in a Brett Favre (situation).”

Forward Harper Kamp later said he is sure Sanders-Frison will play, and Sanders-Frison confirmed it. He said his feet are actually feeling somewhat better after sitting out the Bears’ win over Hartford on Tuesday night, and he laughed at the suggestion the calf would keep him off the court.

Montgomery said he hasn’t decided whether sophomore Brandon Smith will start again at point guard. He was hoping to see how a new combination worked, with Smith at the point, Jorge Gutierrez shifting back off the ball and freshman Gary Franklin coming off the bench.

But Franklin had a touch of stomach flu and played only 10 minutes, and Gutierrez said he wasn’t properly focused and had seven turnovers. Smith had five turnovers, but otherwise had a strong game, according to Montgomery.

Smith played 29 minutes, scored a career-high 15 points, was 8 for 10 from the FT line and made his only 3-point attempt, his first of the year in five tries. Gutierrez credited Smith with getting the team into its offense and controlling tempo, and added that he’s OK playing either position.

Jeff Faraudo