Texas A & M senior Derrick Roland received the Christmas present he wanted when he returned home just in time for the holiday.
The No. 19 Aggies' guard who broke his leg during a hard fall at Washington was released from Harborview Medical Center yesterday and flew on a charted medical transport plane to College Station, Texas.
Roland, accompanied by his aunt Betty Cofield, was greeted by more than 40 family members, friends and Texas A & M fans when he landed at Easterwood Airport in the afternoon.
He was transported by ambulance to Physicians Center in College Station.
School officials said Roland will likely remain in the hospital under the care of Texas A & M doctors for a few days before returning to his home in Dallas.
"It was one heckuva scene at the airport," Aggies spokesman Colin Killian said. "He was still pretty weak and out of it, but you can tell he appreciated the support."
Roland underwent surgery immediately after breaking his right tibia and fibula early in the second half of No. 22 Washington's 73-64 win on Tuesday.
Roland's bones snapped cleanly across, puncturing the skin, leaving his leg in almost a 90-degree angle and horrifying a sellout crowd at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Dr. Christopher Wahl, UW's team physician, inserted a rod and three screws in Roland's right leg to repair the broken bones. Wahl expects Roland to make a full recovery.
It is too soon to know whether Roland's playing career is over.
Killian said the school will explore options to seek a medical redshirt for Roland, the Aggies' defensive stopper and second-leading scorer.
"I've overcome injuries before," Roland told the Associated Press. "I'll just have to do it again."
In a tournament:
* At Honolulu, Marcus Johnson had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead Southern California (8-4) over UNLV (12-2), 67-56, in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic . . .
Omar Samhan scored 24 points to lead five players in double figures and Saint Mary's held off Hawaii, 84-75, in the third-place game . . . Mickey McConnell scored 17 points, Ben Allen added 15 and Matthew Dellavedova and Clint Steindl each had 12 for the Gaels (11-2) . . . David Kool scored 16 points and Martelle McLemore had 15 to lift Western Michigan (6-5) to a 66-63 win over College of Charleston in the fifth-place game . . . Matt Janning had 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead Northeastern (3-7) to a 73-62 win over SMU in the seventh-place game. *