Shabazz Muhammad worked hard to get himself back into playing shape, dropping nearly 15 pounds earlier this season to do so.
Now, his eating habits are in question.
Muhammad is still feeling the effects of the flu which slowed him last week and caused him to miss practice on Tuesday. After realizing he wasn’t eating well, UCLA’s training staff instructed Muhammad to “eat a good meal” on Monday night.
He didn’t exactly do that.
“He went out and had sushi,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said.
Muhammad practiced on Friday and Saturday. The team had Monday off and he was unable to practice on Tuesday. Howland says his team’s leading scorer is “just run down.”
As precautionary measures, Muhammad had x-rays taken off his chest on Monday and had blood work done on Tuesday. Howland expects Muhammad to return to practice on Wednesday and play when the Bruins return to action on Thursday night against Washington at Pauley Pavilion.
In the meantime, Muhammad has work to do on his diet. Howland believes a major contributor to Muhammad not feeling well is his eating habits. Muhammad met with the team dietitian on Tuesday.
“We’re now being specific as to what to eat to make sure he’s getting enough nutrition,” Howland said “(The dietitian) gave him specific orders. ‘This is what you’re doing.’”
Muhammad was 235 pounds at the beginning of the season. He was able to get to 222 pounds. Howland says he’s now at 214 pounds. Muhammad’s ideal playing weight is in the 215-220-pound range.
Despite suffering from the flu, Muhammad scored a game-high 22 points last week in the Bruins’ overtime loss to USC. In the process he made just 7-of-18 shots in 37 minutes of action.
The Bruins have lost three of their last four games, including their last two home games. They reached the halfway point in Pac-12 play as winners of six of their first nine conference games.