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September 23, 2014

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A numbers game at UNLV basketball practice

UNLV players on the sideline or not in the gym at all comprised a decent starting lineup by the end of Saturday’s session inside the Cox Pavilion practice gym.

Center Darris Santee, who returned to Houston on Friday to attend today’s funeral for a coaching friend, was excused.

Forward Chace Stanback (left ankle) continued to watch the action from afar, as did Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas (shoulder surgery).

Power forward Matt Shaw joined the outsiders Saturday after experiencing some puffiness in his surgically repaired right knee Friday.

The Rebels are off Sunday, which UNLV coach Lon Kruger said would benefit Shaw. He expects Shaw to return to practice Monday.

New walk-on forward Mychal Martinez missed his second consecutive practice after undergoing laser eye surgery Friday, and he’ll have the other one done Monday.

Kruger said it’s to correct an issue Martinez has had for a while.

Finally, new guard Anthony Marshall, who practiced for the first time in eight days and took part in the first 5-minute scrimmage Saturday, was held out of the second scrimmage.

Marshall has been undergoing treatment for a tender right hamstring, and he practiced Saturday wearing a red sleeve over the injury.

The lefty from Mojave High hit a series of jumpers before the first scrimmage, and in that run he played tight defense on Oscar Bellfield and delivered a nifty bounce pass to Kendall Wallace, who converted a backdoor layup.

Trainer Dave Tomchek kept Marshall, who sat to the side with an ice pack around his right thigh, from playing in the second scrimmage.

“We have to get some Rebels healthy here. It’s like the walking wounded,” said assistant coach Greg Grensing as he walked off the court.

In addition, new walk-on guard Tyler Norman felt a pop in his shoulder while rebounding a ball Friday and still felt that pain Saturday.

But he had to play. Otherwise, Kruger couldn’t have run a five-on-five scrimmage. That is, unless he called 80s-something Super Fan Hank Zawicki onto the court to guard Tre’Von Willis.

“Anthony’s good,” Kruger said. “He’ll be back to full speed by Monday. Chace is still a few days away. Mychal should be cleared up in about a week.

“Tyler did a good job with that sore left shoulder. They’ll get tomorrow off and most will be up to full speed Monday.”

After a full week of practice, Kruger said he likes his team’s work ethic and attitude.

“All the things you expect to be there the first week,” he said. “Guys have done a great job. They share the ball well and move well, defensively.”

Follow Rob Miech on Twitter at twitter.com/RobMiech.

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