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A nagging groin injury puts UNLV forward Mike Moser’s ‘homecoming’ in doubt

Dec 2, 2012, 11:45 PM EDT

Mike Moser, Chris Babb AP

UNLV forward Mike Moser is one of the most versatile players in the country, but unfortunately for the junior from Portland he’s had to deal with a nagging groin injury since preseason camp.

In the second half of the Rebels’ 77-63 win over Hawaii on Saturday night Moser re-aggravated the injury, and it could very well rule him out of Tuesday’s tilt at Portland according to Taylor Bern of the Las Vegas Sun.

The game is supposed to be a homecoming of sorts for Moser, who is averaging 12.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. His move to the three has required an adjustment of sorts, and Moser’s field goal percentage (39.1%) is some six points below the clip at which he shot in 2011-12 (45.0%).

With the groin injury bothering him and bigger games ahead of UNLV in the non-conference portion of their schedule (most notably their December 29 game at North Carolina) as well as in Mountain West play, this could be a good time to give Moser some rest if you’re head coach Dave Rice.

But the opportunity to play in front of friends and family make this a game that Moser won’t want to miss.

Moser has been working on the injury the entire season, leaving the practice court and heading straight for an ice bath. This may linger with Moser for the season, but it would be surprising if it forced him to miss an entire game, particularly next week, when UNLV is headed on its first road trip Tuesday for Moser’s homecoming game against Portland at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. Rice would probably have to fight Moser to keep him on the bench for that game considering Moser expects about 130 family and friends to attend.

Rice has multiple weapons at his disposal but there’s no glossing over the importance of Moser. With a game at California next Sunday on the horizon, will he make the move to rest his versatile forward?

UNLV’s bench is coming off of its most productive performance of the season, scoring 34 points with Savon Goodman (13 points, seven rebounds) and Quintrell Thomas (nine points, five rebounds) leading the way.

If Moser were unable to play the reserves (which also includes Justin Hawkins and Carlos Lopez-Sosa) would be able to state their case for more minutes not just now but when Khem Birch becomes eligible at the end of the semester.

With UNLV’s biggest battles yet to come, any extra rest they can get Moser would be a positive. It’s just a shame that a nagging injury may rob Moser of the opportunity to play a game in his hometown.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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