The Washington Times - February 5, 2009, 06:57PM

Where have you heard this one before?

Navy has an outcome-altering player who keeps tweaking his hamstring. Seemingly every time he is close to returning, he winds up aggravating his injury.


That was the Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada story in the fall, and the Romeo Garcia story in the winter.

Garcia, though, could be back for Wednesday’s game against Lehigh, and coach Billy Lange knows precisely what that means.

“We’re a good defensive team,” Lange said. “He makes us a great defensive team.”

The numbers bear it out. Garcia played seven games earlier in the season for the Mids (15-7, 4-3 Patriot), and opponents shot 39.1 percent from the floor and 29.7 from 3-point land. In the other 15 games, Navy’s foes are shooting 42.4 percent and 32.2 percent from long distance.

It’s worth pointing out Garcia played against Navy’s two best opponents —- Villanova and Virginia Tech.

In either case, Garcia could be the difference between an early exit in the Patriot League tournament and an extended push into March. He’s that vital, and Navy will be better able to handle Holy Cross (which it beat) and American (which it lost to) in road games later this month if the Texan is on the floor.

—- Patrick Stevens