BERKELEY — Cal junior Theo Robertson, who returned this season from surgery on his left hip that sidelined him for the entire 2007-08 campaign, will undergo surgery Friday on his right hip.
"It hasn't been nearly as painful as the last one," Robertson said, "so I'm optimistic from all indications from my doctor that I wouldn't be down for nearly as long."
Robertson said he was told a bone spur is causing pain in his right hip but that there is no reason to believe the damage is greater than that. The more extensive microfracture surgery Robertson underwent in April, 2007, removed a bone spur and repaired torn cartilage in his left hip.
"Last (time) it was pretty damaged," coach Mike Montgomery said. "We're hoping it's not near that stage. But it's not going to get better (on its own). It's something that has to get fixed."
Robertson doesn't expect to need another microfracture procedure, which stimulates bone growth and requires a long rehabilitation. His doctor said that even if minor cartilage damage is discovered during surgery, he likely will be on crutches for just two weeks before beginning rehab.
"I'm kind of excited in one way to get it taken care of and have a full season where I'm 100 percent healthy," Robertson said. "It was not as painful as last time but definitely took its toll and limited me."
A small forward from De La Salle High, Robertson started every game this season, averaging 13.1 points and 3.9 rebounds.
As expected, sophomore power forward Harper Kamp will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to help clean up issues that have caused him pain since surgery early last August. Montgomery did not give a specific date for Kamp's procedure.
There is no official word on the status of redshirt sophomore center Taylor Harrison, who has missed the past two seasons because of knee problems that are not improving. But it seems increasingly likely that Harrison will take a medical retirement, allowing him to remain on financial aid to finish school while restoring a scholarship to the basketball team.
Monty's big deal
Montgomery, who guided Cal to a 22-11 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament in his debut campaign, earned $1.575 million in the first year of a six-year contract that will pay him more than $10 million as long as he completes the deal. The $10 million does not include performance incentives.
The contract, approved by the UC Regents on Feb. 27, calls for Montgomery to earn a $250,000 annual base salary through the 2013-14 season. In addition, he gets a "talent fee" that was $1 million for this past season and will increase annually by $50,000 increments to $1.25 million in the final year.
Montgomery also collected a one-time $300,000 "supplemental bonus" this year, and he earned two performance bonuses during the season — $10,000 after the team won 20 regular-season games and $15,000 for guiding the Bears into the tournament.
Montgomery's salary is paid through self-generated, athletic-department funding, with no taxpayer money involved. It pales in comparison with that of Cal football coach Jeff Tedford, who this year earned $2.8 million before performance incentives.
UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland, who guided the Bruins to three straight Final Fours before this season, earned about $1.8 million this year.
Montgomery's Cal contract calls for him to pick up three separate $500,000 "retention" bonuses if he remains the Bears' coach on specified dates through April 4, 2014, when the contract ends.
Other performance bonuses include $15,000 each for winning the Pac-10 regular-season or tournament championship, and increasing payouts for each round the Bears advance in the NCAA Tournament. A Final Four appearance, for instance, would make him $175,000 in incentives. A national championship is worth $75,000 more.
The contract includes substantial buyouts for termination of the contract by either Cal or Montgomery.
Testing the waters
Montgomery said he has no problem with junior guard Patrick Christopher likely putting his name into the NBA draft pool, but he isn't sure the rule allowing underclassmen to "test the waters" is a good one.
"It's something that was put in years ago that has probably backfired on college basketball," he said. "Now you've got a whole bunch of kids putting their names in because they can.
"Patrick's an all-conference player, a very good player. If he can find out more information that will help him, that's good."
Christopher can attend tryout camps and gauge NBA interest, then return to Cal for his senior season provided he does not hire an agent. Players have until April 26 to declare for early entry into the draft, and the deadline for withdrawal is June 15.
— Jeff Faraudo