When Howard University’s Theodore Boyomo went down with an anterior cruciate ligament tear in an exhibition game before the start of the season, head coach Kevin Nickelberry thought the team had fulfilled its allotment of season-ending injuries.

Boyomo, a 6-foot-9-inch freshman center from Cameroon, had surgery on the knee and was ruled out for the season. But Howard lost another key player to a serious injury when junior guard Calvin Thompson, the team leader and pre-season All-MEAC second team selection, also suffered an ACL tear in a loss at Purdue on Nov. 14.

“Losing Theodore was devastating enough,” Nickelberry said of his prize recruit. “We were just beginning to adjust. Now we lose Calvin for what looks like the rest of the season. It is certainly not something that happens often. We just have to re-group, work hard with the players that we have to be as competitive as we can be.”

The losses on the offensive line played a key role in the team’s 66-34 loss at Delaware on Nov. 19, but Nickelberry said he takes the blame for the team’s poor performance.

“We as coaches have to stop worrying about who we don’t have and concentrate on developing and working with the young players that we have so that we will be competitive throughout the season,” he said. “We will do a better job.”

Howard played the Delaware game without guard Kyle Riley, the team’s only senior and a key contributor. Riley suffered an ankle injury at Purdue and will be evaluated on a game-by-game basis, according to Nickelberry.

Howard faced St. Francis College of New York in Brooklyn on Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. before coming home for a showdown on Nov. 23 with D.C. crosstown rival American University at 7 p.m.


Ed Hill Jr.

Special to the AFRO