SAN JOSE – Mike Moser said he didn’t cringe when the name “Cal” came up opposite of UNLV on the NCAA Tournament bracket Sunday afternoon. But no one would have blamed him if he did.
You might say this afternoon’s East Region NCAA rematch (4:27 p.m., truTV) with the Golden Bears opens an old wound for the 6-foot-8 junior forward from Portland, Ore.
Moser suffered a gruesome dislocated right elbow injury while diving for a loose ball early in the first meeting on Dec. 9 in Berkeley. When you watch the play in the video below, it seems amazing that he came back to play at all this season, much less only a few weeks after the injury.
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Moser, who had amassed double-doubles in two of his previous five games before the injury, has had just one in 20 games since. Although the preseason second team All-American isn’t back to 100 percent yet, he has been a key contributor during the last month, scoring 20 points and grabbing eight rebounds in a 80-63 win at Nevada on March 2 while just missing double-doubles against Fresno State (11 points, nine rebounds) and Air Force (nine points, 10 rebounds). In fact, one ESPN.com columnist called Moser UNLV’s “X factor” for making a run in the tourney.
Moser said he has watched the video of the injury.
“I still turn my head kind of,” he said. “It’s kind of gruesome.”
Moser, who watched the second half of the 76-75 win at Cal with his arm in a sling, was asked if he was surprised that he has been able to come back and not only play again this season but also return to the starting lineup.
“No,” he said. “I think I’m a pretty tough guy. I’m glad I was able to bounce back from that.”
Hear more Moser on playing Cal and the injury in the video below.