Romeo Garcia’s return to the Navy lineup remains uncertain. The sophomore guard has played in just seven games this season and none since Dec. 22 because of persistent hamstring injuries in both legs. Garcia, who averaged 6.1 points, 3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in his brief appearances for the Midshipmen, is considered one of the team’s best defenders and was an all-Patriot League rookie team selection last season.
“Clearly we miss him,” Coach Billy Lange said last month. “But at this point, you hope for him to come back, but you can’t really plan and expect him to come back.”
Garcia has tested his hamstring this week, but hasn’t gone through a full practice with the team. Navy is cautiously optimistic that he might be ready to play limited minutes on Wednesday at Holy Cross. But Garcia has been down this road before. Last month, he was cleared to practice but re-injured the hamstring, setting back his recovery.
The Navy trainers have been going all out to get Garcia back on the court. Using a procedure similar to the one that helped Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada recover from his hamstring injury, they drew blood from the infected area of Garcia’s leg. The blood was spun in a centrifuge then injected back into his leg. They hope this aggressive treatment will help speed the muscle’s recovery.
“I can sit here and say we would be 30 to 40 percent better if this guy had been playing with us since Day One,” Lange said. “He brings that kind of value to our basketball team.”
Garcia does have the option to receive a medical hardship waiver, which would allow him to preserve a year of eligibility, but it isn’t an option Navy wants to pursue. The Midshipmen would much rather have Garcia back on the court.
“The process is tedious and it is difficult,” Lange said. “But it is possible.”
February 13, 2009; 6:01 AM ET
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