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Duquesne junior out with foot injury

| Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006

With the season opener looming, Duquesne has lost yet another player with an injury.

First-year Dukes coach Ron Everhart confirmed Friday that redshirt junior forward/center Kieron Achara will be sidelined indefinitely with three stress fractures in his left foot.

"Obviously, this is unfortunate news," Achara said, one day after an MRI revealed the injuries. "Adversity happens. The true test is how you fight through it."

The loss of the 6-foot-10, 240-pound Achara means Duquesne will open the season with just six healthy scholarship players.

The Dukes, in Everhart's first game at the helm, are expected to use a starting lineup consisting of three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior-college transfer for their opener Monday against Youngstown State.

Four other injured scholarship players -- forwards Sam Ashaolu (head) and Stuard Baldonado (arm), center Almamy Thiero (knee surgery) and guard Gary Tucker (shin splints) -- also are out.

"We're not going to feel sorry for ourselves, that's for sure," Everhart said. "We've been practicing without these guys for a while now, so I don't expect it to be a distraction."

Everhart said Achara would have the foot immobilized for two weeks before having the injuries re-evaluated.

"It's unfortunate, because he worked so hard this summer," Everhart said. "He lost 34 pounds and was in the best shape of his life."

Achara missed most of last season recovering from shoulder surgery. As a sophomore in 2004-05, he won the Atlantic 10 Conference's Chris Daniels Award as the league's most improved player after averaging 11.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

He and sophomore guard Aaron Jackson, a starter last season, are the only players back from a 3-24 team.

"I am determined to work hard and do whatever the doctors ask of me so I can be back as soon as possible," Achara said.

Achara, who ranks sixth all-time in field-goal percentage (52.4) played in three games last season before undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and spent most of the spring and summer in a rehabilitation program.

Note: Junior forward/center Shawn James, one of five Duquesne players injured in a Sept. 17 shooting on campus, underwent surgery yesterday to remove a bullet from his foot. James, who is ineligible after transferring from Northeastern, has been practicing lightly in recent weeks. He is expected to be sidelined for three-to-four weeks.

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