New Mexico fans eager for the debut of heralded freshman Cullen Neal will have to wait until November.
The son of first-year head coach Craig Neal underwent an emergency appendectomy on Monday during the Lobos’ second day in Sydney and as a result will have to sit out all three of the team’s exhibition games in Australia.
The younger Neal first began experiencing some pain in his abdominal region on the team’s 14-hour flight to Sydney, but he didn’t think too much of it. Only after the pain increased Monday did Neal finally visit a doctor and discover his appendix was inflamed and needed to be removed.
The inability of Neal to play this week is a bit of a disappointment since integrating him into the rotation was one of New Mexico’s biggest goals for its Australia trip. With Tony Snell entering the NBA draft, Demetrius Walker transferring and Bryce Alford following his dad to UCLA, Neal is expected to see ample playing time either behind starting guards Kendall Williams and Hugh Greenwood or alongside them.
Once Neal emerged from surgery unscathed, his teammates couldn’t help poke fun at him.
Tweeted Greenwood, “Already lost my roommate to an emergency appendectomy. Get well soon brother. It would have sounded cooler if it had been because of a shark, a snake or spider though. Lol come on CJ!”
While Neal was in the hospital having surgery, the rest of the Lobos had a fun day in Sydney on the eve of their first game of the trip against the Sydney Kings. In Monday’s video diary, guard Kendall Williams describes the Lobos’ walking tour of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, their afternoon practice and their visit to a rugby game Monday night.
Senior guard Kendall Williams:
Day 2 practice clip:
Previously in the series: