Wear, a 6-foot-10 junior, sat out of UCLA's 75-59 victory Sunday at USC after sustaining the injury during practice on Saturday. He did some light work during Tuesday's practice but not enough to convince Howland he'd be able to play against the Sun Devils.
"I would say that he is doubtful for tomorrow, but he is getting a lot better," Howland said. "We’ll see how much he improves tomorrow, but in my mind, I’m not counting on him for tomorrow’s game."
Wear is second on the team with 5.4 rebounds a game and third in scoring with 11.6 points per game. He had a concussion and sat out when UCLA last faced Arizona State on Jan. 26. The absence of their starting center was felt as the Bruins were routed by the Sun Devils, 78-60. In that game, Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State's 7-foot-2 center, had a career game with 22 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots. He made 10 of 12 baskets.
"It’s a huge factor," Howland said. "To have one of our best players, one of our leading scorers, a guy that’s played well all year long, come out of the lineup is tough. He’s obviously a very good player and a guy that on a given night can get you 20 points."
That doesn't mean the Bruins will rush Wear back into the lineup. Howland said the decision will ultimately be up to Wear and the team doctors, but that Wear's long-term health was more important than getting him back for any particular game.
"We’re going to be conservative with it," Howland said. "We have a lot of basketball left to play. We’re not going to rush him back unless he’s comfortable. It’s got to be his thing."
It's also easier to sit Wear knowing that David Wear, Anderson and Parker all had good games Sunday against USC and the Trojans' big front line. Those three combined for 29 points on 11-of-26 shooting and had 23 rebounds.
"It puts more of a challenge to everybody else on the team and especially Dave, Kyle and Tony," Howland said. "Those guys answered the bell on Sunday, and so this is another challenge."