BIRMINGHAM — The UAB men’s basketball team could possibly have Ledarrius Brewer back for Thursday night’s Conference USA showdown at FAU.
Brewer, a 6-foot-5 senior, has been out since breaking a bone in his left hand during practice before the team’s Conference USA opening win over Charlotte on December 22. He returned to practice for some non-contact work last week and continued on Monday. Brewer did a few more things, including some light contact drills, during the open part of Tuesday’s practice session.
Brewer was the leading scorer at East Tennessee State the past two seasons and a double-digit scorer at Southeast Missouri State the two seasons prior to that. He transferred to UAB this season and started the first nine games.
“I really hope he can play,” said UAB guard Jordan ‘Jelly’ Walker, the C-USA leader in three-point field goals. “We need him. We’ve been winning, but he plays a crucial part of our team. He’s another dynamic scorer, and he’s a big guard. He’s a great defender as well. Having him on the floor, I think, makes our team even that much better.”
Brewer had 13 3-pointers through 11 games, with nine of those coming in the first four games. After missing the three games, he fell behind teammate Eric Gaines for second on the team in 3-pointers. Gaines has 14 3-pointers in 14 games.
UAB head coach Andy Kennedy said he’s ready for Brewer to return to the lineup. But, Kennedy also said the experience could be beneficial for Brewer.
“Here’s a guy who’s been in college a long time,” Kennedy said. “He’s never had a serious injury. He’s never had to sit on the sidelines. Sometimes that’s good for his perspective. It gives him that sense of urgency that you want all of your upperclassmen to play with. We’ll see how he feels and when he’s ready to go, we’ll let him go.”
Kennedy said it’s a matter of Brewer becoming comfortable.
“For him, with the hand, it’s just about catching the ball and having comfort,” Kennedy said. “He’ll be padded up. I’m not worried about contact. It’s just catching and the dynamics of having the ball in his hands. I’ll throw him out there. We’ll just see how he responds. [Monday] was really good. He’s been out for about 10 days. He has more bounce in his body than the other guys because he’s refreshed.”
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