Winthrop's most highly-touted new player was injured in Sunday's practice in what one coach described as the hardest fall he's ever seen on a basketball court.
Freshman Joey Jerome, a 6-foot-5 forward, drove to the basket during a scrimmage. Teammates Julius Francis and George Valentine were battling for position on the play and took the legs out from underneath Jerome and he fell face first to the floor. Jerome was unable to cushion the fall with his hands.
"There was blood all over the floor," Winthrop assistant coach Larry Dixon said. "It was one of those falls that you knew, as soon as it happened, was going to be bad. I was scared for him"
Emergency medical technicians worked on Jerome before taking him to the hospital where he received stitches above his right eyebrow. He was treated for a concussion and a dislocated finger on his right, non-shooting, hand.
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Jerome has been watching practices in street clothes since the incident. He won't be able to practice until he receives medical clearance due to the concussion.
Thursday afternoon he absorbed practice in an end zone seat at the Winthrop Coliseum. His right eye socket was swollen like a golf ball. The white of that eye was spoiled with blood.
"I can see alright. It looks worse than it is," Jerome said.
This time of the season is especially valuable to freshmen players. It is a time when coach Randy Peele is installing his system.
Jerome could be fine, physically, in a week or so but he is missing a lot of on-the-court teaching. He is a player that should see considerable action in his first season wearing a Winthrop uniform especially since another recruit, Martaveous Smith, was declared academically ineligible.