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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Chang's wrist probably not broken, doctor says

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Although UH quarterback Tim Chang's right wrist is probably not broken, according to doctors, the sophmore quarterback will not play in Saturday's road game against Southern Methodist.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Extensive medical tests show that University of Hawai'i quarterback Tim Chang probably did not suffer a fracture in his throwing wrist.

Chang, whose right wrist was heavily bandaged at yesterday's practice, will not play in Saturday's road game against Southern Methodist.

But pending the results of next Monday's X-rays at the Queen's Medical Center, Chang might be cleared to begin practicing next week.

"It's a relief," Chang said yesterday afternoon. "As soon as I get cleared, I want to start throwing. I think I'm going to recover fast."

Dr. Robert Atkinson, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand injuries, said Chang probably has a bone bruise or small ligament tear in his right wrist. Neither injury will require surgery.

"It looks hopeful at this point," Atkinson said. "He may miss only one game."

An X-ray Monday morning showed a "suspicious line" across the scaphoid bone, which bridges two rows of bones in the wrist. A fracture could have prevented Chang from playing for up to six weeks.

Monday afternoon at St. Francis Imaging Center, Chang underwent a magnetic resonance imaging, a procedure in which magnetic fields were used to produce a picture of the inside of Chang's wrist. The MRI was inconclusive, UH officials said Monday night.

Yesterday, Dr. Darryl Kan, the team surgeon, and Atkinson reviewed the MRI, determining there was no appearance of a fracture. Kan said the scaphoid bone did not contain fluids, a significant indicator to the presence of a fracture.

Kan and Atkinson said the "suspicious line" probably was a shadow on the X-ray.

"The X-rays never showed a definitive fracture," Atkinson said. "It was a suggestion. With this injury, you have to have a high index of suspicion."

Kan said the usual practice is to wait seven to 10 days before taking another X-ray. The time is needed for the body to remove the calcium near the injury, creating a clear view of the area. Sometimes, a fracture is obscured from tests soon after the injury is sustained.

But Kan said, "I'd be very surprised if (a fracture) showed up on Monday."

Kan said the scaphoid bone "is a difficult area to diagnose and a difficult fracture to treat. Because he is a quarterback and this is in his throwing wrist, we wanted to be absolutely sure about the diagnosis."

UH coach June Jones said Nick Rolovich, who will start Saturday, and Jared Flint will be the only quarterbacks on the 60-player travel roster. Jones said that safety Chad Kapanui, who was recruited as a quarterback, will be used in an emergency.

"That's fine with me," Kapanui said. "I can learn the offense fast."