Southern’s Hyder out indefinitely

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON --  Southern guard Christopher Hyder slows the ball down during the first half against the Blue Mountain College Toppers on Monday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern guard Christopher Hyder slows the ball down during the first half against the Blue Mountain College Toppers on Monday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

Southern starting point guard Christopher Hyder could miss the rest of the season because of a blood clot in his left shoulder.

Hyder, a sophomore from Dallas, played through pain in the shoulder the past two games. When the pain didn’t subside in the wake of the Jaguars’ 60-36 victory against Jackson State on Monday, Hyder underwent more thorough testing, which revealed the blood clot.

Coach Roman Banks said Wednesday that one of Hyder’s ribs “is pinching on an artery,” which led to the clot.

Hyder is taking blood-thinning medication to treat the clot and will undergo surgery in the next two or three weeks to relieve the pressure on the artery.

“(The clot) is close to his heart, so they have to take a lot of precautions with him right now,” Banks said. “We’re praying for him, and we’re just concerned about getting him better right now.

“He can’t do anything. Once you get on those blood thinners, they won’t let you do very much.”

Banks informed the team of Hyder’s situation before Wednesday’s practice. Hyder is tied for second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with an average of 5.3 assists per game, and his assists-to-turnovers ratio of 4.3 leads the league.

“That’s a big hurt for our team,” leading scorer and rebounder Calvin Godfrey said. “I know coach Banks has said I was the heartbeat of the team, but I like to think that (Hyder) was.

“He was a guy at the point guard position that really kept things under control.”

Hyder is averaging just 2.8 points in 25.7 minutes per game, but he has been a key to the Southern defense, which leads the SWAC in opponents scoring (64.2) and field-goal percentage (37.3).

“His defensive pressure is outstanding, and he just runs the team all over,” said Trelun Banks, who starts alongside Hyder in the backcourt. “He’s my right hand.”

Coach Banks said he’s still evaluating his options for replacing Hyder as the Jaguars, who lead the SWAC with a 4-0 record, prepare for a road trip to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday and Mississippi Valley State on Monday.

“It’s definitely a blow to our basketball team,” coach Banks said. “We always felt like going into conference play that starting him and Trelun together put a lot of pressure on people.

“He’s definitely the brain trust of our defense, getting after people with a lot of energy, and he played some last year. So now we have to go back to the drawing board. I’m concerned about our chemistry because we’ve been working hard all season to find the chemistry.”

Coach Banks said his “educated guess” was that he would start his son at the point and look at perhaps playing senior Yondarius Johnson more minutes in the backcourt.

He’ll also have to lean on Mike Harrel, a transfer from Southeastern Louisiana who has played a total of just nine minutes in the three games since he became eligible, for backup minutes at the point.

“It’s fortunate that Mike Harrel has become eligible,” Banks said. “I’d like him to get some reps and understand the system, but we’re going to have to throw him out there as another point guard we can use.

“He is a guy that can contribute to the ballclub. I thought it was important to play him just a few minutes to let him feel the action, and that’s what we’ve been doing. Now he’s going to have to do more than just feel the action. He’s going to have to get out there and log a lot of minutes.”

Hyder was hospitalized to begin the blood-thinning treatment but was scheduled to continue the treatment as an out-patient until the surgery.

“We all know that he would want us to go out and play to the best of our ability every night even with his injury,” Godfrey said. “We know as a team we have to go out and perform for him as well as for ourselves.”

Hyder is the second starter to face a heart-related condition this season. Center Javan Mitchell missed time during preseason while being treated for an enlarged heart.

“It was devastating news, but we all know we just have to step up and play hard for him, because we know he would want us to play hard for him and just keep on winning,” Mitchell said. “He’s just got to keep it in God’s hands, just keep praying, take it one day at a time.

“Don’t rush to come back and play, just know that we have his back and take his time. And when he comes back, we rock and roll.”