Texas A&M's Roland breaks tibia, fibula

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

Texas A&M senior guard Derrick Roland suffered a gruesome leg injury in the 19th-ranked Aggies' 73-64 loss at No. 22 Washington on Tuesday night and was in surgery at a Seattle hospital early Wednesday morning.

Coach Mark Turgeon said Roland broke his tibia and fibula bones in his lower right leg.

"He's in surgery now," Turgeon said immediately after the game.

Turgeon then rushed out of the arena to the hospital across town. He referred all other questions to top assistant Scott Spinelli.

"We expect him to make a full recovery," Spinelli said, though he conceded Roland's college career may be over — barring some unexpected turn of events such as a medical redshirt for another season.

That will likely be difficult to obtain. NCAA rules include guidance that a medical hardship waiver may be granted for a fifth year of eligibility for a player injured before he has played in 20 percent of his team's games in a season. Roland has played in all 11 of Texas A&M's 29 regular-season games so far.

"God willing, you don't know," Spinelli said.

Aggies team spokesman Colin Killian, who was traveling with the team, said Turgeon, staff members and some players were at the hospital early Wednesday waiting for word from the surgery. The team was due to board its bus about 5 a.m. PST to begin its flight home.

Turgeon considered leaving the game to join his player at the hospital before staying. The scene recalled the similar injury former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann sustained live on national television during a Monday night NFL game in 1985.

The Aggies gathered at their bench for a tearful prayer for Roland during a 10-minute delay to get him onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Immediately after the game resumed, Washington (8-2) went on a decisive 15-4 run.

Roland, one of the leading defenders in the Big 12 Conference and the Aggies' second-leading scorer, crashed hard to the court with 17:30 left in the game after jumping under the basket.

Turgeon ran on the court while play continued at the other end.

Roland's teammates were distraught. Leading scorer and fellow senior Donald Sloan, a childhood friend of Roland's from Dallas, cried as he buried his head in his jersey and was helped to the bench.

Four University of Washington doctors and trainers rushed to Roland, who remained on his back, arms over his eyes.

After about 10 minutes, he was removed on the stretcher wearing an air cast and loaded into an ambulance that took him across town to Harborview Medical Center. Roland, who scored a career-high 21 points earlier this season at Southern Methodist, was alert inside the ambulance. He was holding his head up as an IV was started in his arm and the ambulance drove away from the back of the arena.

Barry Davis, the Aggies' director of student of student and athlete development, was at Roland's side inside the ambulance. Davis was talking on his cell phone as medical personnel treated Roland.

Some Aggies were still crying after the game.

"We said a prayer as a team," Spinelli said. "Lots of guys were in tears. They're in tough shape right now."

share story