University of Washington

Huskies' Smith will redshirt this season

SEATTLE - Joel Smith's long, frustrating attempt to return this season from a broken foot ended Wednesday when coach Lorenzo Romar announced the junior guard will be a medical redshirt for this season.

Smith, who entered this season with more experience - 66 games - than any other Husky, will now have two years of eligibility remaining.

Doctors discovered a stress fracture in Smith's right foot during preseason practice. He was expected to resume playing on Nov. 24 against Eastern Washington, but he fractured another bone in the same foot during a practice three days before that game.

Smith came back to practice on Monday. But he and Romar decided to keep him out instead of having him play the final eight regular-season games.

The struggling Huskies (14-8, 4-7 Pacific-10) are in eighth place in the conference. They must win at least five of their remaining Pac-10 games - beginning on Thursday at home against California - to have any hope of a fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA tournament.

"It was a good decision for me and for the team. I want to be able to come back 100 percent and help my team to the fullest, not come back 70 percent or whatever percent I'm at now," Smith said in a statement from the school.

"I want to help the team out in a lot of different ways and right now I don't feel like I'm capable of doing that."

Smith, a two-year letterman from Lompoc, Calif., averaged 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds last season. He was an honorable mention selection to the 2005 Pac-10 all-freshman team after scoring 4.6 points per game.

"Joel wants to play. He wants to come out here and help us," Romar said. "If you watch him in practice, he won't make every shot. But you can see how he can help us ... You can just see the experience.

"I think he understands that he knows he can help us, but he's looking at the big picture."