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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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As injuries add up, Chris Hines heads to sideline

Chris Hines played three games with a broken thumb, but it doesn't look like there will be a fourth.

"He can't play through it," Utes' coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "God bless him for trying, but he hasn't even been able to go through a shootaround yet to be able to catch a ball."

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One of just three healthy returners from last year's team, Hines broke the tip of his left thumb against BYU on Nov. 10, and since then has worn a protective brace on the digit, but had a noticeable dip in productivity.

Hines averaged just over 10 points per game going into the BYU game and had made 38 percent of his 3-point baskets.

Since the injury, Hines has scored just seven points and shot 1-of-12 from 3.

"He brought us a little defensive presence and all that," Krystkowiak said. "It just seemed like the first time he went to reach out and grab a ball it would be painful and it's not fair to ask him to do that."

Hines missed the season opener against San Diego Christian due to injured ribs and hurt his elbow later that week against Montana State.

"Hines is a tough guy who will play through intense amounts of pain," Utah center Jason Washburn said. "He's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around and if coach says he's out, that's what it's going to take to stop him from playing."

Krystkowiak said the Utes will turn to less-known faces to fill the void. Problem is, the Utes are shorthanded in that department, too. Former Springville star Alex Mortenson, a walk-on, would likely get some minutes, Krystkowiak said, but he is out also with a concussion suffered in practice this week.

It's almost as if injuries are contagious around this Utes' team.

Junior guard Cedric Martin has missed considerable practice time this week nursing plantar fasciitis. Krystkowiak said Martin will not practice Friday and that the team will reevaluate his status going into Saturday's game at Colorado.

"It's not one of those things you can kind of play through," Krystkowiak said. "You usually have to let it cool off and let it heal."

Martin has come on strong in the last four games, averaging 11.5 points.

— Bill Oram

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