Merced guard Tandra Henley rolled an ankle at Monday's practice.
She instantly broke one of Bears coach Brad Reed's most important rules this season: Don't get hurt.
With only six players currently on the Merced roster the Bears can't afford any injuries.
"We had two girls move away, two girls who are ineligible and a couple who decided they didn't want to play," Reed said. "We have six left. We still have enough to play."
Reed is debating whether to call up another player from the junior varsity team, but he doesn't want to do it just as an insurance policy.
Even with the short roster, Merced could have one of the top teams in the Central California Conference.
It helps when you have the reigning conference MVP in Dalonna Jones. The 6-foot center dominated last year, averaging 12.5 points, 16 rebounds and 7.2 blocks per game.
Also returning is versatile forward Tekerra Borden, giving the Bears one of the best duos in the area.
"When Tekerra is on and Dalonna is playing well they're tough to reckon with," Reed said. "Buhach Colony is going to be good with their guards and returning post players."
Borden won't have to handle the ball as much this year with freshman point guard Lexi Thompson on the team.
The Bears may be short on players, but Reed feels all of them can play and contribute.
The roster will effect what Reed can do.
The Bears just don't have the numbers to press full-court from start to finish. You'll also see Merced play more zone on defense to help keep players out of foul trouble.
The season will take its toll on Reed, who along with his assistant coaches will have to take the court in practices so the Bears can do some five-on-five drills.
"I can play defense in the half court," Reed said. "I can be another body in the press. I'm going to have to get in better shape. I'm going to give myself an elliptical machine for Christmas."
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