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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2001

UH Notebook
Sprained left wrist hampers Manuwai

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By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

University of Hawai'i offensive lineman Vince Manuwai has a severely sprained left wrist that throbs whenever he incorrectly blocks a defender.

"It feels like it's broken," Manuwai said of his left wrist, although tests have not shown a fracture.

The 6-foot-2, 284-pound Manuwai, who is a candidate for the Outland Trophy as the nation's best lineman, said he suffered the injury during spring practice in March. He said the pain has not subsided despite rehabilitation.

Sometimes while using his hands to make a block, "you have that shock," he said. "You have to rub it to get that pain release."

When he "punches" — a blocking technique in which a lineman thrusts his open hands onto a defender's chest — "it throbs. If I miss or punch the wrong way, it really hurts."

During workouts, his left wrist is braced with a metal splint, then wrapped heavily with tape.

Manuwai played all of last season with a broken bone in his right hand. He said he believes he can "deal with" the pain in his left wrist.

"I would be a lot better if it wasn't sore," he said. "I wish it was 100 percent so I wouldn't have to think about it. I know it's going to hurt, but I'll play through the pain."

Kicking back: On his way to prominence, punter Greg Kleidon hit a pothole.

Kleidon was expected to be UH's punter in last season's opener against Portland State. But two days before the game, the right-footed Kleidon suffered a sprained right ankle when he stepped in a pothole while running to class.

The injury forced him to miss the entire season.

"It was a really frustrating year for me," Kleidon said. "I worked so hard, and I felt I got to the point where I thought I was ready. Then it was all taken from me."

In 1999, Kleidon averaged nearly 45 yards per punt at Santa Monica (Calif.) College, where he was named to Gridwire magazine's second team for junior-college players.

During training camp, Kleidon is struggling to average 40 yards per punt. The hang time of his punts, near five seconds before the injury, is now about four seconds.

Meanwhile, Kleidon's best friend, Mat McBriar, has improved in the past year, and is listed as the team's No. 1 punter.

Kleidon said the pain in his ankle did not go away until January. He spent the summer trying to regain his punting technique and leg strength.

The injury "gave me a different perspective," Kleidon said. "Now, I take things as they come. I'm going to work hard and claw my way back to where I was before the injury."

Silent treatment: There has been a kind of hush in training camp.

Dennis McKnight's resignation as special teams coach helped lower the decibel level during workouts.

Also, UH head coach June Jones has instructed his assistant coaches to "not be negative. I would hope that all coaches would not yell just for show. I urge my guys to be positive and to yell only when necessary."