CINCINNATI (AP) - When guard Deonta Vaughn got word of Cincinnati's latest injury, he couldn't help but think about the previous one.
Freshman Cashmere Wright tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during practice this week, costing the Bearcats their projected point guard. No one else on the roster has much experience at the position, so Vaughn - the Big East's top returning scorer at guard - will have to adjust.
It's the second year in a row that the Bearcats suffered a major injury before the first game. Last November, forward Mike Williams tore an Achilles' tendon, costing the Bearcats a top player at their weakest spot. They had trouble scoring inside all season long, contributing to their 13-19 finish.
Now, this.
``Yeah, it went through my head,'' Vaughn said before practice on Friday. ``I'm like, 'We've just got bad luck or something.'''
Wright's injury left them with no margin for error at their thinnest position.
ons. Coach Mick Cronin planned to use him as a shooting guard, giving him a better chance to shoot and drive. Wright, a highly touted recruit from Savannah, Ga., would grow into the point guard role as the season went along.
No one besides Vaughn has much experience at the point. Cronin said Friday that he has decided to compensate for Wright's injury by essentially eliminating the position. Instead of having one player bring the ball up the court and run the offense, it will become a collective endeavor.
There will be more passing, less dribbling.
``We're just not going to play with a point guard,'' Cronin said. ``Our offense is not going to have a point guard in it. It's not going to matter who brings the ball up the floor for us. Our big guys can start our offense for us. We're not going to ask one guy to become somebody they're not.''
In any case, Vaughn is going to have to assume some of the traditional point guard duties. He averaged 17.3 points last season, and was looking forward to playing off the ball this season.
``It would give me the ability to get more open shots and still be able to create offense for this team,'' Vaughn said. ``It would have opened up a whole lot for others, too. With me playing (the point), we're going to see how other teams play us.''
They're likely to make things tough for Vaughn, who averaged 33 minutes last season and seemed to wear out at times.
``We've got to make sure Deonta doesn't foul,'' Cronin said. ``Now, he's never been the world's most aggressive defender anyway, but we've got to make sure he doesn't go out there hacking people early and being overly aggressive. He's going to have to keep himself in the game and not get two quick fouls.
``We may have to play a little more zone. I'd like not to, but we may have to because we've got some young guys.''
Vaughn has been playing point guard against Wright in practice, trying to get him ready for the season. Now, the 6-foot-1 Vaughn will take on some of the role for the season.
``I'm a point guard because of my size, so I'm just going to have to get used to it and deal with it,'' he said.

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