Posted: 11:39 am Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Dwyer’s Joel James, Greg Louis near 100 percent before Dwyer’s TV game 

By Jeff Greer

It was hard enough to return to practice after more than three weeks off, but the Dwyer basketball team is also dealing with injuries to two key players.

Senior 6-7 forward Greg Louis tweaked his hamstring during practice before the Palm Beach All-Star Basketball Game two weeks ago. Junior 6-10 center Joel James “popped a ligament” in his foot in the third quarter of the Class 5A state championship game back on March 5, and is still working his way back to full health. They expect to play in Dwyer’s 4 p.m. Thursday game against Findlay Prep (Nev.) in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational in Bethesda, Md., just outside D.C.

Both starters fully participated in Dwyer’s intense Monday practice and neither looked to be inhibited at all by their injuries, but the Penn-bound Louis admitted his hamstring was still bothering him.

“It’s really frustrating,” said Louis as he shot free throws after practice. “It’s more of a mental thing at this point. It could be better — I wish it was better — but it’ll be fine by Thursday.”

Dwyer coach Fred Ross said getting two of his big fellas back to health was key.

“If we get Greg close to 100 percent and big Joel — if that foot doesn’t bother him — we’re good,” Ross said after practice. “The toughest part is the time of season when we’re preparing. In our mind, the season was over. We were done. We took time off. We had spring break.

“So, conditioning is the biggest part. As far as preparing, we can match size with anybody. With an in-shape (star guard Jacoby Brissett), we can compete athletically with anybody. We know that. We didn’t know we were gonna play. I’m really worried about Greg. But if we get him right, we should be OK.”