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February 13, 2007

Two Illinois players injured in car crash

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Two Illinois basketball players were injured when their car went off the road and slammed into a tree.

Brian Carlwell was at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana Tuesday in serious condition with a severe concussion, sports information director Kent Brown said. Jamar Smith was treated at the hospital for a concussion and released.

Illinois coach Bruce Weber spent the night in the hospital with Carlwell, a 6-foot-11 freshman center.

"We just hope and pray Brian is going to be OK," Weber said before Carlwell's condition was upgraded from critical.

Police cited Smith for improper lane usage, Brown said, and campus police said Tuesday further action is possible depending on the investigation.

Smith, a 6-3 sophomore guard, was driving Monday night on the outskirts of the campus when his car crossed the center line and struck a tree, university police said. It was snowing heavily in the area, but it wasn't known if that contributed to the accident.

Carlwell's parents traveled from their suburban Chicago home to see their 19-year-old son Tuesday, Brown said.

Brown wasn't sure if the rest of the team had been told of the accident or if the Illini would practice later in the day. The team practiced Monday night and next plays Sunday when it hosts Northwestern. Weber canceled his regular Wednesday news conference.

It wasn't known when either player will be available to the team.

"The main concern here is the health of those guys, and not playing status or any of that has been determined," Brown said.

Smith averages 8.1 points and Carlwell averages 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds.

For more coverage of Illinois, visit OrangeandBlueNews.com.



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