Diener broke his left hand Tuesday

Updated: February 24, 2005, 11:36 PM ET
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Travis Diener is thinking about the NBA sooner than he expected.

Marquette's star point guard will miss the rest of his senior season after breaking two bones in his left hand at practice Tuesday and undergoing surgery that will sideline him up to six weeks.

Diener was hurt in a non-contact drill at the beginning of practice, leaving him 83 points shy of surpassing George Thompson as Marquette's all-time leading scorer, and 15 assists shy of becoming Conference USA's all-time leader.

Diener, a Cousy Award finalist as the nation's top point guard, will continue to attend practices and games during his recovery as he focuses on the NBA draft in June. He leads Conference USA with averages of 19.7 points and seven assists, and is the only player in the country to lead a major conference in both categories.

"We are going to close a chapter on what has been an outstanding career, but we're nowhere near closing the book on what will continue to be an outstanding career," Marquette coach Tom Crean said Wednesday.

Diener said he was disappointed he can't be on the floor to help the Golden Eagles (18-8) make a last-gasp push to make the NCAA tournament. Crean said he would involve Diener in the team's game-planning and preparation.

"It's obviously ending too soon, sooner than I wanted," Diener said. "My goal now is set to help this team win some more games and get into the (NCAA) tournament. Our goals are still the same, with or without me. They're going to play their hearts out."

Diener said he didn't think he was seriously injured at first because the pain didn't hit him until 20 minutes later. He said he is still coming to terms with his college career being cut short.

"Tomorrow night (at Cincinnati) when I see the guys come out and play and I'm sitting there watching, knowing that I can't ever play for Marquette again, it might hit me then. I'm sure it's going to hit me on Senior Day when I walk out in street clothes," he said.

Diener missed three games last month with a foot injury. Since his return, he averaged 18 points and eight assists in leading the Golden Eagles to three wins and a near-upset of then-No. 12 Louisville.

Diener, who helped Marquette reach the Final Four during Dwyane Wade's last season two years ago, finishes his college career with 1,691 points, just shy of the 1,773 Thompson scored from 1967-69. Diener is one of seven players in school history to score 1,000 points and accumulate 400 assists. Marquette went 90-33 during his 3½ seasons.

Diener is part of a family with deep basketball roots. He played for his uncle, Dick, at Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac. He has two sisters who play college ball, one at Lewis (Ill.) University and one at Saint Louis.

And he had a spirited competition with his cousin Drake, a senior at DePaul, against whom he went 6-2 during his time at Marquette. He was 4-0 against Drake's brother, Drew, who attended Saint Louis.

Diener is a candidate for several postseason honors, and Crean said Diener deserved to be named an All-American. Athletic director Bill Cords said Diener was already an All-American in his eyes.

"Travis Diener is what college basketball is all about," Cords said, "He's what Marquette University is all about, and as a competitor and a team player, a student-athlete and a person, he's an All-American in every sense of the word.

"And what he's brought to this program and what he will leave with this program is incredible."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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