Starting point guard yet to practice

Updated: October 19, 2004, 8:00 PM ET
Associated Press

STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanford point guard Chris Hernandez is sidelined with an ankle injury and has yet to practice with the defending Pac-10 champion Cardinal.

Coach Trent Johnson isn't sure when Hernandez will be ready, but plans to be cautious with a key starter who has fought injuries his entire college career.

"I'm not trying to make any deadlines," Hernandez said Tuesday. "We're just going to take it day by day and see how it feels. It could be a week, it could be two weeks, it could be more. The main concern is to be ready, full-go with no pain by our first game."

Hernandez, a junior, sprained his right ankle two weeks ago. He averaged 10.0 points and 4.3 assists last season to help Stanford finish the season ranked No. 1 in the AP media poll and reach the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight season.

"We're going to be sure before we put him out there in terms of him being able to go full speed," Johnson said. "Injuries are a part of it. I think in any athletic program or basketball program, it's the long haul, it's the journey, so you're going to have your share of injuries."

The Cardinal open the season Nov. 13 against Concordia (Calif.) at Santa Clara University, Stanford's temporary home court early in the season until the $30 million renovation of Maples Pavilion is completed.

Hernandez missed the 2002-03 season with a broken left foot -- he tried to come back that year and reinjured the foot. He was bothered by back spasms last season.

"I've had some history of injuries," Hernandez said. "Thankfully, this is just a normal injury I think every basketball player has at some point in their life. I haven't had one yet that's this significant with my ankle, so I guess my time was due."

Stanford lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Alabama last season. The Cardinal lost star forward Josh Childress, the Pac-10 player of the year, to the NBA, and saw 18-year coach Mike Montgomery go to the pros to take over as coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press