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December 13, 2012

Injuries loom large as Huskers prepare for Oregon

Still reeling from its blowout loss to instate rival Creighton a week ago, Nebraska is now dealing with a completely new set of issues as it tries to rebound for Saturday's trip to take on Oregon.

Head coach Tim Miles said Thursday that three key contributors - freshmen Shavon Shields and Benny Parker and junior Mike Peltz - were working through injuries, and their status of moving forward was questionable at best at the moment.

Probably the most significant of the three is Parker, who Miles said suffered a mild sprain of his MCL during Monday's practice.

"He just hurt it in practice on Monday," Miles said. "I don't even know what he did. He just knocked a knee."

Parker, who was already dealing with a foot injury he suffered against Southern Cal that temporarily had him in a supportive walking boot, has started all eight games for the Huskers at point guard and is averaging 27 minutes per contest.

At this point, Miles said he was unsure if Parker would be able to play on Saturday.

Then there is Shields, who again re-aggravated a lingering elbow injury earlier this week after getting it hit at some point. Shields already missed most of the fall and five of the Huskers' first six games while dealing with a ruptured bersa sac in his right (shooting) elbow, which later became infected.

Like Parker, Miles said he didn't know what Shields' status would be for the Oregon game, and likely wouldn't until game day.

"I don't know," Miles said. "I truly don't know. A lot of guys say 'I don't know' and that means no. I don't know."

Finally, Miles said Peltz continues to deal with an unspecified knee injury that would require surgery after the season. He is expected to be able to continue to play through it, and with Parker's status up in the air there's a chance the walk-on could be Nebraska's starting point guard against the Ducks if Parker can't go.

Peltz, who has played in all eight games this season but has only made one field goal on just nine attempts, has been criticized a bit lately for his seeming unwillingness to shoot the ball despite being left wide open at times by opposing defenses.

Miles said he's put no restrictions on when Peltz can or can't shoot, and has been clear that he needs Peltz and others to help produce points along with the Huskers' starting five.

"Mike can shoot. Mike doesn't want to shoot," Miles said. "But Mike's going to be just fine. He's going to make aggressive plays. I love Mike because he plays with force. He's going to screen you. If you're going to try and post up on him, you're going to meet resistance. He's going to block you out. He might knock you into the cheerleaders. It's all fine with me if it's OK with the cheerleaders."


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