Hannah may miss remainder of season with broken jaw

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Missouri's Stefhon Hannah suffered a broken jaw during a brawl outside a nightclub Saturday night in Columbia, Mo. The Tigers' leading scorer is expected to miss at least four to six weeks and could be out for the rest of the season. (DICK WHIPPLE ~ Associated Press)

Missouri's top scorer had to be hospitalized following a brawl Saturday night.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri guard Stefhon Hannah, the team's leading scorer, was released from the hospital Monday after suffering a broken jaw in a weekend brawl outside a downtown nightclub. The senior is expected to miss at least four to six weeks and could be out for the rest of the season.

Hannah was injured outside the Athena nightclub early Sunday morning, just hours after the Tigers returned from a 66-62 victory at Colorado. Hannah told police that he was struck on the head by an unknown object by at least one person whom he could not identify, according to a preliminary police report obtained by The Associated Press.

Anderson said the team still hopes to have Hannah back before the end of the season, but he wasn't certain how long Hanna's recovery would take. The Tigers' conference season concludes in early March.

"Right now it's indefinite," Anderson said. "You never know how long it will take to recover from an injury."

Hannah is the fifth Tigers player to be involved in off-court violence or misconduct since Anderson was hired less than two years ago.

Anderson has instituted a no-tolerance policy in an effort to keep his players out of trouble. Asked Monday if the incident with Hannah violated that policy, Anderson reiterated that Hannah's health was his main concern.

"Right now, my biggest concern is Stefhon Hannah," he said. "I'm more concerned about the kid's health."

The coach added that he didn't think the spate of off-court troubles was hurting the team's image.

"I don't consider it a problem," he said. "We're moving in the right direction."

Hannah and at least one teammate were near the Athena nightclub early Sunday after eating at a Greek restaurant next to the club, said Nikai Mediterranean Grill manager Rasheed Kikhia. He declined to identify who accompanied Hannah.

Basketball team members aren't allowed to go to the club under Anderson's no-tolerance policy, according to Kikhia. Anderson would not discuss specifics of his policy, referring to "team rules" without elaborating on those rules.

"They came to eat and left," said Kikhia, who wasn't working that night but arrived after police were called. "It's two separate buildings."

The nightclub owner could not be reached for comment.

Police said that 20 to 30 people were outside the nightclub when they arrived after the assault on Hannah, but that none of the observers provided any details about the fight.

The city is trying to suspend Athena's liquor license because of frequent police calls to the club, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported Monday. Columbia police have received about 100 calls in the past year about fights, assaults, shots being fired and other disturbances at the downtown bar, the newspaper said.

In April 2006, former Missouri football player A.J. Kincade was arrested after police responded to a report of shots fired at the club. Kincade pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and was sentenced to probation.

Hannah, 22, leads the Tigers (12-8, 2-3) in scoring with a 14.7-point average and in assists with 5.1 per game. A junior college transfer, he also led Missouri in scoring and assists last year.

Missouri's next game is Wednesday at home against Nebraska (11-6, 0-4). Anderson said sophomore Keon Lawrence, a former starter, will likely take Hannah's spot in the starting lineup.

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