- Associated Press - Saturday, August 4, 2012

UNCASVILLE, CONN. (AP) - Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun fractured a hip in a bicycle accident Saturday, hours before he was supposed to coach a group of his former players in a charity game.

The 70-year-old Calhoun was cycling near his summer home in Madison when he hit some sand and fell, said associate head coach George Blaney.

The Hall of Fame coach was still in surgery at 11 p.m., said Maureen McGuire, a spokeswoman for the UConn Health Center in Farmington.

“He hit some sand and he has those shoes that are tied in, clip-ons,” Blaney said.

It’s the latest in a string of health problems for the Calhoun, who broke several ribs in an accident during a charity bicycle ride in 2009. He also has survived skin and prostate cancer, and missed eight games last season because of the effects of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine, normally associated with aging and sometimes with arthritis.

“He’s just had some bad breaks this last year or so and we’ve just got to hope that he has a speedy recovery,” said Warde Manuel, UConn’s athletic director.

Calhoun has led Connecticut to three NCAA titles. Many of the players from those teams and others were back in the state Saturday to participate in the Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic game. The biennial charity event at Mohegan Sun benefits the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at the UConn Health Center.

It went on without Calhoun. Chicago Bulls guard Richard Hamilton, who led the Huskies to the 1999 national championship, said it was a way for the players to say thank you.

“I mean, he’s the man,” Hamilton said. “You look at everybody that’s here right now. He not just produced great players, but he produced us into great people and great men.”

NBA stars Ray Allen, Rudy Gay and Kemba Walker were joined at the game by other former UConn greats such as Donyell Marshall and Chris Smith. Allen, who did not speak to the media before the game, acted as an honorary coach after undergoing ankle surgery this offseason.

“It’s like a family,” Oklahoma City center Hasheem Thabeet said.

Walker said it’s also a way to make a statement about how they feel about the program, which faces a post-season ban next season for failing to meet NCAA academic standards.

“We love this school,” Walker said. “Offseason this is the place I’ll be all the time. I love this school regardless.”

Calhoun, 873-380 in 40 seasons as a head coach, is expected to return for a 27th season at UConn. He has said he will make his plans known before practice begins in October.

Houston Rockets first-round pick Jeremy Lamb said he expects Calhoun will return, but hopes he takes some time after the injury to consider what is important in his life.

“I know he’s going to fight,” Lamb said. “But I don’t know if it will make him want to coach more or retire more. I just know coach is a tough guy, a real strong man, and he’s going to do what’s best for him and his family.”

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